Statement From Senator Fred Mitchell
Leader Of The Opposition in The Senate
On The Response of The President Of The Senate
For Immediate Release
10 November 2019
On Thursday 7 November 2019, I received a two line communication from the President of the Senate in response to a letter written on behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party dated 24th October 2019.
The PLP’s letter raised inter alia the fact that a debate on hurricane relief was about to occur in the Senate and given her role as one of the coordinators of hurricane relief in Grand Bahama directly answerable to a Minister of the government, she was in a position of a conflict between her role as presiding officer of the Senate and that of a member of the executive.
It was suggested that at the very least, she should not have presided over the debate last week, given her dual role. The response from the President when the matter was raised in the Senate last week was studied silence. Her response by letter was tardy and came some weeks after the delivery of the PLP’s letter. It failed to deal with the substantive issues raised. The President simply said that the contents were acknowledged and noted. That response was dismissive.
Another such debate comes up this week when another bill on hurricane relief comes up for first reading and debate. The President of the Senate again has an opportunity to protect the integrity of her office and that of the Senate as an institution. She should not preside over any debate on hurricane relief.
Ultimately, she should decide whether she is fish or fowl: Senate President and guardian of the legislative branch of government or a Member of the Executive of the country. She must not serve two masters.