Parliamentarians apologise for behaviour last week
Parliamentarians could come under stricter scrutiny, even as nine of them have apologized this afternoon (July 11) for the disgraceful episode that unfolded in the Lower House last week.
The Lower House descended into chaos last Tuesday, as some Government and Opposition members squared off over a number of issues, as well as derogatory remarks and allusions.
Members from both sides of the divide ate humble pie this afternoon, on the request of House Speaker Michael Peart.
Four apologized for their direct breach of the Standing Orders, while the other five proffered voluntary apologies based on their positions in the House.
Those who expressed regret for direct breaches are Deputy Speaker Lloyd B. Smith, as well as J. C. Hutchinson, Raymond Pryce and Everald Warmington.
Among the members who volunteered apologies are House Speaker Michael Peart, as well as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.
They were absent from the House during the embarrassing verbal spat, but today (July 10) promised that the incident will not recur.
Mr. Holness, who also called for both sides to develop a binding code of conduct, announced that Opposition Members have established a small committee to start the process of elevating the standard of public life.
Meanwhile, the two parliamentarians at the heart of last week's disturbance in Gordon House also issued their apologies this afternoon.
St. Elizabeth Members of Parliament Raymond Pryce and J.C. Hutchinson have promised that they will not repeat the brawl.
Mr. Hutchinson was on his feet addressing the House, when Mr. Pryce made certain utterances that were not clear to the media.
Hutchinson took offence, saying Pryce had referred to him as a boy, while commanding him to sit.
Mr. Pryce said the Hansard reflecting the Parliamentary proceedings has no record of him ever making such statements.
Mr. Pryce also used today's opportunity to respond to Mr. Hutchinson's declaration that he- Mr. Hutchinson- was not a fish, during the tit-for-tat between the two.
Mr. Pryce says he has learnt through the media that Mr. Hutchinson's fish arguments were aimed at him.
But, he says he is attributing positive Christian meanings to the symbol of the fish.
Mr. Pryce also issued an apology for shouting across the floor at Mr. Hutchinson, and for rising to his feet in breach of the Standing Orders.
Mr. Hutchinson also apologized for using un-parliamentary language for disobeying the acting House Speaker Lloyd B. Smith and for verbally attacking the House Marshall.