Speaker of the House Temporarily Vacates Seat as Privilege Motion Takes Center Stage

Speaker of the House Temporarily Vacates Seat as Privilege Motion Takes Center Stage

Once a privilege motion is filed in the House, it supersedes the current matters and is to be dealt with immediately.  In this case, since the motion was against the Speaker of the House, as we noted, it was required for her to vacate her seat until the matter is resolved.  

Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House of Representatives: This morning at one hour approximately before the start of this meeting there has been a privileged motion presented. That privileged motion has me, the chair, as the subject matter. That motion has been lodged by the Leader of Opposition. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to preside over a privileged motion. As we all know, as members of the House, privileged motion trumps all business. Therefore, I will now vacate the seat as chair and invite the Deputy Speaker to take over.”

With the Deputy Speaker, Marconi Leal Sr., the Leader of the Opposition, Moses Barrow, was allowed to present his privilege motion.  

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “The matter at hand, Mr. Speaker, is the erroneous and most regrettable decision to stop me from presenting the no confidence motion against the Prime Minister and his government at today’s sitting. Mr. Speaker, unlike some of the elitists on that side, this house does not belong to the rich and powerful and the political cronies. This house belongs to the people. And as the Leader of the Opposition, I represent 31 constituencies, Mr. Speaker. What is the point of order? What is the point of order?”

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “The point of order is that… But you need to sit down first.”

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “I can’t sit until you say a point of order.”

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “It’s not for me to decide.”

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “What is the point of order?” 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Mr. Speaker.”

Deputy House Speaker: “Go ahead Prime Minister.”

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Point of order Mr. Speaker. The leader is presenting a motion but he is -”

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Mr. Speaker on a point of order. The standing orders are right here. If you are going to claim a point of order, give us the number of the point in order. You can’t just say point of order.” 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Under a privilege motion he needs to read his privilege motion not act for TV. He needs to just read the privilege motion so that we can discuss it. Not because we are not TV right now, no documentary.”

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, this poor excuse for a Prime Minister has been here for 30 years and he should know better, he should know better that when you rise on a point of order, there is a standing order book, Mr. Speaker, and let me educate you, since maybe it’s been so long that you have forgotten. When I present my notice of privilege motion, when I present my notice of privilege motion – what is the point of order? What is the point of order? 

Henry Charles Usher: “I will address the speaker, Leader of the Opposition, not you. 38.1. Stick to the contents of your debate. You are supposed to read your privilege motion. Read the motion! Don’t go all over the place, man! Read your motion and let the speaker make a decision. That is what you are here to do. Not act for the camera. Come on!”

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