The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie ruled yesterday that Members of Parliament will not be allowed to raise matters related to the Town Centre Mall during proceedings.
His reasoning: the matter is before the Supreme Court.
He was referring to a writ that was issued on behalf of businessman Scott Godet who is suing the government for violating a public-private partnership for the creation of a new building to house the General Post Office. He entered into the agreement under the former Christie administration.
Mr Godet, president of La Grange Investments, told Tribune Business in October that he had suffered nearly $4m in losses, and had been unable to do anything with his property for 18 months as he waited for the government to provide clarification on its plans.
Speaker Moultrie said yesterday: “On the issue of matters that have been debated in this Parliament particularly with respect to resolutions and on the matter of the lease at the Town Centre Mall, where the chair is satisfied that a writ has been taken out at the Supreme Court and that any discussion in this Parliament can have a prejudicial affect on matters before the court. Out of an abundance of caution I will deny any permission to discuss those matters because in my estimation we are dealing with a double-edged sword here.
“We don’t want to act in a way that could prejudice the outcome of a matter before the courts and I don’t want to put the Parliament in a position where the argument could be put that the Speaker permitted matters to be discussed in this parliament that had a prejudicial affect on the case.
“So we are dealing with a double-edged sword and out of an abundance of caution the chair rules that no discussion with respect to the lease of the Town Centre Mall, which I understand is before the courts nor will we permit any matters to be discussed pursuant to rules 32,13,15, 20 or 25. That is the ruling and any attempt to put anything on the record in that regard will be expunged.”
He made the ruling after Official Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis raised the issue at Parliament questioning when the government intended to table the Town Centre Mall lease. He also said he did not know whether to believe Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis or St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette who have seemingly given conflicting information on the Town Centre Mall rental.