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Three MPs apologise to House over comments

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Neville Tyrrell, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher (Photograph supplied).
Christopher Famous, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher (File photograph)
Craig Cannonier, the Shadow Minister for Public Works (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Three MPs apologised to the House of Assembly yesterday for comments they made two months ago.

Neville Tyrrell and Christopher Famous, Progressive Labour Party backbenchers, and Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance Shadow Minister for Public Works, made the remarks in July.

They were asked to address the House by Dennis Lister, the Speaker.

Mr Tyrrell said: “During our sitting of the 23rd of July on Motion to Adjourn I made various comments that were in response to comments made by the Opposition.

“As I am unable to unspeak those comments, out of respect for your office and as instructed by you, I apologise to the chair for any breach that may have occurred.”

He asked that the comments be retracted.

Mr Lister said Mr Tyrrell’s remarks were “deeply appreciated”.

Mr Tyrrell referenced comments about his son on July 23 that were made earlier by Mr Cannonier in connection with an energy project at the National Sports Centre.

Mr Famous backed his party colleague at the time and said that members “do not go after each other’s families”.

He said yesterday that “out of an abundance” of respect for the Speaker and his office, he retracted the comments.

Mr Famous said: “My apologies to the chair for any breaches that may have inadvertently occurred.”

Mr Cannonier was told by Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker, to leave the chamber on July 23 after he tried to respond to the comments made about him.

Mr Lister said yesterday: “MP Cannonier, you have to be called on if you would like to remain in this chamber today.

“You have the floor to do what’s required of you to do, considering that your last attendance at this chamber you were asked to remove yourself.”

Mr Cannonier said: “I do appreciate the sentiments of the last two members and their personal explanation.

“And I also would like to offer my apologies to the Deputy Speaker.”

The OBA member said he hoped there would be an opportunity for him “to continue to flesh this out … because it is still concerning to me that I was removed from the House, but I do apologise”.

Mr Lister replied: “This is not just for you MP Cannonier, it’s for all members – whether you agree or disagree with a ruling of whomever is in the chair, whether it’s the Speaker, the deputy or a chairman, at any time – that person controls the House.

“That person has the final say."

He thanked Mr Cannonier for his apology.

* To read the Hansard report of the comments made on July 23, see the PDF under Related Media.