Why the haste?
I HAVE always been curious about the motive of the Speaker in cautioning members of the Lower House not to “impute improper motives” to other members.
This caution seems reasonable for none should without just cause or sufficient evidence attribute improper motives to another member. Parliament is an august chamber and behaviour should be in the highest tradition of the Westminster system. But what if the accusing member has sufficient evidence to impute improper motives? Is the Speaker morally and ethically bound to caution a member to the point of forbidding him to continue with his contribution if that member possesses the evidence? The Parliament is about the people’s business and if the latter is being compromised by the improper action of one of its representatives, is it not within the purview of the function of Parliament for another member to initiate the process of informing the House with the Speaker’s approval?
If the accusing member fails in his attempt he deserves the censure of the Speaker, and if the said member persists so to do in further dealings with other members, that censure should go further. But should the Speaker act to caution a member for “imputing improper motives’’ out of mere mention of improper behaviour on the part of another member without waiting to determine whether there is validity in the oncoming accusation or not?
A noble tradition should not be upheld for the sake of it if it’s the people’s business for improper conduct of members to be heard and debated in Parliament.
Dr Errol Benjamin