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Friday, February 13, 2015


Two protest marches?

Did the UWP stage two (2) protest marches in (2) two months? One (in January 2014) on the streets; (and then buoyed by its touted success) staged another (in February 2014) in the House of Parliament that failed and backfired? And whereas, in the first march, one (1) single placard-bearer out of (what they claimed was) "four thousand" (4000) marchers messed up things, in the case of second march, one a single lady (who decided to take the bull by horns and march all on her own across the parliament floor) messed up not just herself but perhaps - equally or more so - the entire Team Chastanet crew.

Never-ending dilemmas

The above scenario is drawn to simply emphasize the dilemma that seem to be perpetually bedeviling almost every initiative that Team Chastanet undertakes. The dilemma started rearing its ugly head with the toppling of Hon Stephenson King as party leader and Leader of Opposition; and followed up with the subsequent "neutralisation" and marginalisation of key party institutions and figures like Hon Richard Frederick and Dr Claudius Preville.

At the time of writing, the latest episode was Senator Issac's debacle in the CSA which has resulted in a petition requesting her removal from the office of president. 

Indeed, hot on the heels of the request to remove her from office, came the unfortunately flagrant violation of the House of Assembly's rules and regulations by "unintentionally" walking across the floor when the Prime Minister was delivering a rebuttal during a parliamentary debate.

 Lately, almost every UWP event or action has been punctuated by a measure of melodramatic tragicomedy; and whether or not Mary Isaac's violation of the House of Assembly protocol was "unintentional" (as she claimed) or by design, deliberate or just in error, it turned out to be another characteristic Team Chastanet sensational tragicomedy.

Conspiracy theory

Now to an unsubstantiated "conspiracy theory".

The "hatchers" (or is it "hacks") of this conspiracy theory may be wrong and I suspect they are; but my intuition vaguely tells me that the "theory" - that Mary's march (across the parliamentary floor when the PM was doing his rebuttal) might have been a deliberate plan that backfired - might have peripheral merit! 


Looking at the contrasting body language of the Leader of the Opposition (LOO) and the Party leader (who she sat next to) vs that of government MPs immediately following the incident provides an inkling of corroboration that the senator's action might not have been a function of innocence or naivety. Her explanation that her action was unintentional and resulted from hunger is not believable to many observers. I believe that the Senator might have been fully aware of the protocol/standing orders/rules and regulations. Reflecting on the episode with benefit of hindsight, albeit through my terribly blurred and biased lenses suggests that this might not have been the case. 

In my view, the non-verbal leakage and the body language of some of the members of Team Chastanet that ensued pointed in that direction.

Sequence of events

Let's put the Senators's action in the context of the sequence of events: Senator Mary said she chose to sit by Chastanet (who sat in the gallery) because she felt cozier sitting there. Is there any clue in this pronouncement to suggest that Chastanet might have known of her action? And what did he say to her? Why didn't he guide her accordingly? She almost completely "gave it away" when she said that she didn't break any law; but when Rick on his Thursday Talk asked her if she was comfortable breaking parliamentary protocol, she became "circular" again with the "she was hungry" defense.

Next, did you observe at the expression on the LOO's and Party leader's faces after the incident? Both seemed to wear smiles of satisfaction!

Deputy Speaker caught by surprise?

But what really puzzled me was the Deputy Speaker's handling of the precedent: Why didn't he instruct the Sergeant of Arms to do something about it? Why was it left to the PM to grapple with? 

In any case, let's forget about the crudities of plot and focus squarely on the consequences of Mary Isaac's action (not as a senator; but as Mary Isaac).

The penalty she narrowly escaped

On the HTS newscast, the deputy clerk of parliament (Lyndell Gustave) threw some legal light on the "crazy" Mary incident. She said, not only was it was a sign of disrespect to the Speaker of Parliament, but equally the action constituted a breach of the rules and regulations of the House of Parliament; hence, despite Mary's claim that she did not break any rule or law, she did commit a breach of the House of Parliament's rules and regulations.

According to a former attorney general, consequent upon her breach, she could have been "cited by the speaker" and could be summarily imprisoned.

Time for introspection

I hope Mary the Senator will do some serious introspection on the incident and recognise the need to be far more circumspect, discrete, dignified, exemplary and honourable, especially within the "august walls" of our parliament. Her perception that Parliament may have become "unparliamentary" should not give her a platform for "unbecoming" behaviour when she is there. She should also be mindful of the ramifications of her irrational actions and the potentially serious damage that it can do - not just credibility but equally - to the legacy she is trying to build.

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