House of Cads?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Toni Ni­cholas

As I sat within the not so hal­lowed halls of the House of Assem­bly on Tues­day I couldn’t help won­der­ing when the shenani­gans would be­gin. Would it start be­fore the ar­rival of the Mace and the Speaker? Im­me­di­ately af­ter?

I also won­dered how many of the at­ten­dant MPs ac­tu­ally lis­tened to the day’s prayer, de­liv­ered the by the cur­rent cap­tain of the Sal­va­tion Army, espe­cially the ad­mo­ni­tion that “you should not lose zeal to do all the good that you could”.

Tues­day’s sit­ting was pre­ceded by out­pour­ings of love, love, love, with MPs from both sides brotherly-hug­ging one an­other. Or so it seemed on La­borie Street, out­side the House. In the mean­time a hand­ful of pro­tes­tors - for­mer NICE work­ers whose con­tracts had run their course - shouted threats at the govern­ment MPs while over-zeal­ous TV re­porters shoved mics and cam­eras in their faces. More than the reg­u­lar num­ber of po­lice hov­ered around them.

In­side the House, there were more ex­changes of pleas­antries, even as the pro­test­ers took their seats in the area of the gallery usu­ally oc­cu­pied by op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers. An espe­cially re­mark­able sight was Cas­tries South­east MP Guy Joseph shar­ing laughs with his de­feated ri­val Joachim Henry. Also Cas­tries South MP Ernest Hi­laire up and close with Choiseul MP Bradley Felix. Do­minic Fedee em­braced ev­ery MP within reach.

But two MPs held their sec­tions, both stone-faced: Cas­tries Cen­tral MP Sarah Flood Beaubrun and the MP for Vieux Fort South Dr. Kenny An­thony who stayed close to those who un­til June 6 last year were re­ferred to as his flock. His shep­herd’s po­si­tion now be­longed to Philip J. Pierre, MP for Cas­tries East.

The day’s ses­sion got un­der way with the rit­ual farce con­cern­ing the elec­tion of a deputy Speaker. There was a small dif­fer­ence this time around: MP for Gros Islet Le­nard Montoute nom­i­nated Kenny An­thony. He de­clined “with alacrity”. Leader of the Op­po­si­tion Phillip J Pierre was nom­i­nated by Soufriere MP Herold Stanis­las. Pierre too de­clined.

On the ba­sis that “you all tak­ing the House for a pap­pyshow” Vieux Fort North MP Moses Jn Baptiste also turned down the Babon­neau MP’s nom­i­na­tion.

The fire­works be­gan when the Speaker an­nounced that a mo­tion by the Cas­tries South MP had been de­ferred be­cause the PM was not ready to de­bate it. Fol­low­ing sev­eral salvos be­tween the Speaker and a protesting Hi­laire, the op­po­si­tion did what for sev­eral years they have done when­ever there is dis­agree­ment in the House: they walked out en masse to be sur­rounded out­side by thirsty press per­son­nel bear­ing video­cams and au­dio recorders. Per­haps the day’s most me­morable aside came from Guy Joseph who had once ques­tioned an­other Speaker about his role. This time around Joseph’s ques­tion was tossed at the Cas­tries South MP: “You think that’s West Indies cricket board? You don’t know your role?” Doubt­less the SLP’s pri­vate videog­ra­pher cap­tured enough of the ex­cite­ment to keep Face­book ad­dicts in stitches for a while, at least un­til the next House ses­sion!

House Speaker Leonne John. It’s any­one’s guess how deeply she de­sires the pro­tec­tion of a deputy gun!

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