Labour Senator in the Upper House of Parliament, Raymond Roberts has withdrawn a document he had introduced in the Senate during his contribution to the debate on the “Physical Planning and Development Bill 2016,” two months ago.
Sen. Roberts presented to his fellow Senators a document from the Supreme Court Registry about a registered company named “Unity House Limited” that was registered on October 21st 2015.
The document listed Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Works Minister Gregory Bowen, and Marcella Campbell, Office Manager of the ruling New National Party (NNP) as directors of the company.
The document speaks of the company offering five hundred thousand shares at $10.00 each, and the main type of business being undertaken is “to carry on the business of property development and any other business the directors consider advantageous, to acquire by purchase or otherwise land and property of any tenure, and to carry on business of property management and rental, and other business the directors consider advantageous.”
When Sen. Roberts made mention of the company involving the top government officials, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell rose on a point of order claiming that the Labour representative was imputing improper motive on their part.
Sen. Stiell said the company was set up for the construction of the NNP Headquarters.
“The three directors are members of the New National Party to construct a building, party building,” he told the Upper House.
According to Sen. Stiell, the Labour Senator is suggesting that there is something improper and corrupt associated with two Cabinet Members and this has no relevance to the debate on the Bill.
Sen. Roberts was invited by Sen. Humphrey to address him on the points made by the Leader of Government Business, and to explain how the incorporation of the company is motivated by improper conduct.
The Senate President ruled that the document circulated and the statement made by the Labour Senator in connection to the document was in breach of the Standing Order of the house.
For the past two successive sittings of the Senate, the President called on the Trade Union representative to withdraw the statement.
In refusing to withdraw the statement and document, Sen. Roberts on both occasions walked out of the Senate Meetings.
However, during last week Wednesday’s sitting of the Upper House, the Labour Senator, when called upon to withdraw the document and statement by Sen. Humphrey decided to comply with the request.
The Labour Senator also apologised to the House for what Sen. Humphrey felt was two successive contempt actions by refusing to oblige with his request.
Sen. Humphrey ordered that the document and all related statements to the document be struck off the record.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Sen. Roberts only decided to withdraw the statements made and to comply with the order of the Chair in an effort to be allowed to continue to sit in the Upper House and make meaningful contributions on behalf of the trade union movement.
A source who asked not to be named said that the apology was not intended to appease the Senate President but to allow Sen. Roberts to be present in the Senate and to make representations in order “to push forward the workers agenda”.
He spoke of Sen. Roberts expecting the Senate President to “hammer” him as part of the “Project Grenada” initiative in which a number of expelled left-leaning Congress members are now closely aligned with the ruling party.
Sen. Humphrey along with fellow government Senator, Peter David, a former Congress General Secretary were expelled from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in September 2012 in the face of a bitter leadership squabble.