The e-mails are not fake, they are valid and Senate president Timothy Hamel-Smith should do the honourable thing and recuse himself from the debate on the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2014, says Reginald Dumas, former head of the Public Service Dumas said he received in his mailbox an e-mail from Hamel-Smith which was sent to certain persons (not Dumas), dated Sunday, August 10, 2014, and sent after 4 p.m.
The e-mail urged people to take a position that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill be sent to the Parliament’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) so as to allow more discussion on the legislation.
The bill was passed in the Lower House on Tuesday morning and is set to be debated in the Upper House on August 26.
Dumas had called on Hamel-Smith to verify whether he had sent the e-mail and to step aside from presiding over the debate as it would be improper for him to do so having taken a position on the issue.
Speaking to the Express yesterday, Dumas said he expects Hamel-Smith to respond publicly as he owes his reply to the country.
Hamel-Smith had told the Express that he has always expressed his views on Constitution reform and his presentations were carried in the print media.
Dumas said this was irrelevant to the issue at hand.
“I am talking about an e-mail he is said to have sent to various people asking them to support a proposal for the Joint Select Committee...how does that have to do with constitutional reform, let him concentrate on what I have asked,” said Dumas.
“He is the presiding officer, he cannot take sides, he cannot take a position and then ask people to support that position, that is highly improper,” said Dumas.
He added that in the event there is a tie in the voting where Government members have 15 votes in favour of the bill and the Opposition and Independent benches have 15 together, then the Senate president has the tie-breaking vote.
Dumas said when he received the e-mail, he called some of the people who the e-mail was sent to and had discussions about it. Therefore he knows for a fact that the e-mail was sent by Hamel-Smith.
Dumas said he understands that elements in the COP have said he (Dumas) concocted the e-mail.
He made it clear that this information was volunteered to him and expressed disappointment that the COP was making allegations as opposed to dealing with the issues.
“Please be very careful on what you say about me,” said Dumas referring to the COP elements and accusations made.
“He (Hamel-Smith) must come out and clear the air, when he started ducking like this, he sends the wrong message about himself,” said Dumas.
“It would be the proper thing to do, if he sent those e-mails as I believe he did, he cannot preside over this debate and in that case he must recuse himself,” said Dumas.