The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Lloyd B Smith, has publicly admitted that he made a serious parliamentary error of the Standing Orders when he instructed the marshal to remove Member of Parliament J C Hutchinson from the House last week.
Smith initially stated that he made no such order to the marshal. However, on a radio discussion programme, Beyond the Headlines with Dionne Jackson Miller, after she played a recording it was clearly heard when he told the marshal to remove Hutchinson from the House.
He then publicly admitted to doing so and afterwards apologised for that serious error. Frankly, there is no need for him to resign for that single error and he should be allowed to remain in that position to continue the important function of deputy speaker. I commend both MPs, Raymond Pryce and JC Hutchinson, for publicly apologising to the House for their reprehensible behaviour which was a huge embarrassment for both political parties and their respective leaders who have also apologised to the nation.
It is imperative that both political parties ensure that the members of parliament at all times conduct themselves at the highest levels and be outstanding role models of a fully functioning democracy under the Westminster system of government.
Lloyd B Smith has the necessary credentials to do a successful job as deputy speaker and I fully support him. His credibility is intact and he has the respect of all members of the House, and so any call for his removal is unwarranted.
So far, Smith has done a fair and balanced job as deputy house speaker. Jamaicans must not tolerate any form of despicable behaviour from our parliamentarians and should readily condemn them whenever they step out of line. The Parliament is the highest court of the land, and the highest levels of decorum, discipline and respect must be maintained rigorously and consistently.
I believe Smith should be named a minister without portfolio in the western Office of the Prime Minister, and based in Montego Bay, as this is needed for the city. He could very well perform both roles. I commend him for his many accomplishments to date and implore him to continue the excellent work in both politics and the public service.
On another matter, the government must ensure that the Public Broadcasting Corporation is made fully functional and broadcast on a national basis and have a dedicated channel for broadcast across the country. The minister of information needs to take the required action and have the PBCJ fully operational by year-end. The Jamaica Information Service needs to be streamlined in order to make it an informative, progressive and highly efficient medium.
Frank LR Manborde