House: Police complaint, OBA statement
Member of Parliament Zane DeSilva has filed a complaint with the Police about threatening behaviour following events that occurred after Friday's sitting of the House of Assembly, according to a statement released by the Progressive Labour Party (PLP).
Meanwhile, the One Bermuda Alliance has accused Opposition Leader Marc Bean of making an “off-microphone sexually derogatory remark about the wife of a One Bermuda Alliance MP.”
Bermuda Police Service Public and Media Relations officer Robin Simmons said last night: “The Bermuda Police Service can confirm that an investigation into a complaint of threatening behaviour has commenced as a result of an incident that took place on Friday night, December 5, in the House of Assembly. As the investigation is in its infancy, no further information will be given at this juncture.”
The PLP statement served as a climax to events during and after a House sitting which was at times acrimonious, ending suddenly at about 10pm when House Speaker Randolph Horton closed the session. The PLP's Mr DeSilva had been speaking on the Motion to Adjourn in a speech which was marked by pointed comments aimed at One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) Government members.
The PLP statement said: “Following events that occurred after yesterday's sitting of the House of Assembly, MP Zane DeSilva has filed a complaint for threatening behaviour with the Bermuda Police Service. No further comment will be forthcoming from the PLP as this matter currently lies with the Police.”
On Saturday evening, the OBA released a statement which said: “Friday's sitting of the House of Assembly was brought into disrepute once again by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Marc Bean.
The statement continued: “Mr. Bean made an off-microphone sexually derogatory remark about the wife of a One Bermuda Alliance MP who was sitting in the Visitor's Gallery.
“Outside the building, after the House sitting was ended, words were exchanged.
“We have since learned that MP Zane DeSilva filed a complaint with Police about that incident, and on that point we note only that the on-duty Police officer who was present did not intervene.”
The OBA statement said Mr Bean's “inflammatory words” distracted from a productive day in which legislation allowing for the use of cannabis-derived medicines was passed and Government, after amending a Bill put forward by MP Walton Brown, voted to give the Premier the authority to appoint a Commission of Inquiry.
“Mr. Bean's outrageous words during Friday's sitting are part of a pattern of disturbing behaviour that has made it difficult for goodwill to be the currency of the legislature.
“We also note that Friday's incident was the second time in recent weeks that Mr Bean has directed derogatory words toward a woman.
“For the sake of upholding standards of decency and decorum in our public life, we urge members of the Opposition to speak with their leader about maintaining standards of behaviour that befit his important responsibility as Leader of the Opposition and as a role model for all Bermudians.”
Tempers had flared earlier in the proceedings during the debate of the Debtors Amendment Act 2014, with Speaker of the House Randolph Horton threatening to dismiss MPs from Parliament.
When Mr Moniz rose to dispute the PLP MP's assertions of draconian court sentences for debt, he drew immediate outcry from the Opposition by remarking that there had been “allegations at one point” that a travel business run by Mr Furbert was a pyramid scheme.
Mr Furbert responded by implying that Mr Moniz's son had dealt drugs, causing Mr Horton to halt the debate.
Mr Moniz protested that Mr Furbert was being “overly sensitive”, sparking more commentary across the aisle.
“We're not ready yet,” Mr Horton said, halting the debate.
The Speaker issued a reminder about the conduct expected of MPs, including the rule that it should be out of order to use “offensive, insulting or disreputable language” about Members of the House, or which tended to bring the House of Assembly into disrepute.
He admonished MPs not to impute improper motives about other MPs.
Derrick Burgess of the PLP replied: “Can I ask, what is the consequence? We have had all sorts of innuendos levelled at us.”
“It has not been one-way,” Mr Horton replied, demanding that MPs restrain themselves and “provide the kind of leadership we should be providing”.
Referring to the book of Parliamentary rules, he told MPs: “If I step exactly as this book says every time, we would probably be without a House — but I try to be reasonable, and we should be controlling ourselves.”
He later added: “I think we know how to control ourselves — I am just asking that we continue to do that.”
After more chatter broke out when the Attorney General called on Mr Furbert to reveal where he had obtained the figure of 115 prisoners, a visibly angered Mr Horton said: “I am going to start sending people out of this House tonight.
“I have read the order, and there is another order that members should be silent when other members speak. Again, I try to be reasonable. If you speak, speak in undertones.”
He added: “I am beginning to wonder, where am I?”