Leader of the Opposition Lester Bird has issued Speaker of the House D Gisele Isaac-Arrindell and the Lower House an ultimatum: reverse the order suspending Gaston Browne from Parliament for the remainder of the session or face the courts.
In a letter delivered to the Speaker Tuesday morning, Bird called the action against the City West Member of Parliament “excessive” and “oppressive” and said the United Progressive Party (UPP) abused its parliamentary majority.
Bird argued that at the time of Browne’s protest on June 15, Parliament had already been adjourned, the mace was removed from its holster, and the procession had begun.
He said suspension is warranted only after a member is warned more than once and Bird also argued that Browne’s display in the call-and-response with people in the gallery was not egregious enough to justify suspension until the session ends in November.
The ALP political leader told Isaac it is “evident that the majority and you were excessively gross, prejudicial and acted in a harmful manner to Browne and the ALP.”
He warned that failure to “set aright the wrong” would result in the matter going to court. He went further to predict that if the matter proceeds to court, there will be judgment against Attorney General Justin Simon, the Speaker and Parliament.
Bird said the Court of Appeals case Sabaroche vs House of Assembly of Dominica has set the precedent for reversal of what he termed “punitive action by the majority.”