Senator EP Chet Greene remained unapologetic last night for comments he made about Governor General Dame Louise Lake- Tack , after a motion to suspend him from three meetings of the Upper House passed. In fact, the senator called the matter “kangaroo justice.”
United Progressive Party Senator Anthony Stuart moved the motion, which in its final state called for a three-meeting suspension unless Greene apologises.
Stuart said: “If the honourable member, during the said period, is desirous of making a public apology on the floor of the Senate, he may resume membership at its next scheduled meeting.”
Stuart, however, noted that the apology must be “appropriate. We must accept it; it can’t be a wishy-washy apology.”
Greene found himself at the centre of a brewing controversy for comments he made about Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack on January 2, on his programme on ZDK, Beneath the Surface.
On Monday, Leader of Government Business in the Senate Dr Errol Cort denounced the comments and others that followed from other quarters. He also indicated those comments and breaches at Government House forced increased security for the head of state.
An impassioned Stuart, when he spoke yesterday, appealed to President of the Senate Hazlyn Francis to have Greene disciplined for “his total misconduct,” “despicable behaviour” and “treasonous speech.”
Dr Cort later gave Greene the “opportunity to offer an apology for the various statements that he made and to indicate it was not a willful intent to bring the office into disrepute or to incite violence.”
“This is utter nonsense. The conduct of senators in the House is governed by the Standing Orders. I am waiting to see, in writing, what the basis of the suspension is, and my lawyers will deal with it accordingly. This only goes to prove my point that the UPP administration is hell bent on foisting a dictatorship on this nation,” Greene told The Daily OBSERVER last night.
He was not present when the motion passed, having left earlier to attend what he said was an urgent meeting of the National Olympic Committee of which he is the president.
All of the senators on the government side supported the motion, while Arthur Nibbs, who was credited for the reduction of the suspension from five meetings to three, abstained from the final vote.
Greene, speaking immediately after motion passed, expressed incredulity.
“When I spoke at the invitation of the president on Monday, I responded to what she said she’d heard secondhand and third-hand because she was not in Antigua. The last thing I said to her is that I would give her a chance to listen. How could she preside over the suspension of a member for something that she herself never heard?” Greene asked.
There was some disagreement yesterday over what was actually said and what insinuations made, with Greene charging that Stuart’s account was inaccurate.
Stuart then said he would make copies of the programme available to members of the House.
Asked last night by OBSERVER if he would apologise, Greene said, “I stand by my position that I said nothing about the governor general, Her Excellency Dame Louise Lake-Tack, in Parliament where my conduct is regulated, or anywhere else for that matter, which is worthy or deserving of an apology.”
Like he did a day earlier when he spoke in Parliament, Greene charged that democracy is under threat.
“My only words to the people of Antigua & Barbuda is that we must be ever vigilant,” Greene said. “A dictatorship is about to be unleashed across and upon this land of which we must be wary, and we must strengthen our resolve not to make it happen.”