President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey has sought to downplay an existing dispute between himself and his Trade Union Colleague, Senator Raymond Roberts.
Sen. Roberts who is representing Labour in the Upper House of Parliament, on two different sittings of the House refused to bow to the demands of the President in withdrawing a document he introduced to the House during his contribution to the debate on the Physical Planning and Development Control Bill.
The document centers on a company by the name of “Unity House Limited” that was registered on October 21st 2015 identifying Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, his Works Minister Gregory Bowen along with the New National Party (NNP) Office Manager, Marcella Campbell as being the main shareholders.
Sen. Humphrey had told Sen. Roberts that if he failed to withdraw the document, he would not be recognised and be allowed to contribute to the debate in the House.
Sen. Roberts refused to withdraw the document and decided to walk out of the Upper House sitting.
The Senate President who was a guest on a television programme last week Wednesday said he gave Sen. Roberts ample opportunity to address the arguments he put forward with regards to the relevance and the imputation of the document.
He spoke of the Labour Senator having failed to provide those arguments, and as President of the Senate he had to make a decision, but did not ask him to apologise.
He said there is no confrontation between himself and the Labour Senator.
According to Sen. Humphrey, he did not seek nor ask or caused Sen. Roberts to be ejected from the Chamber.
“I am certainly not in any battle with Sen. Roberts or with any one of the other Senators. The rules are the rules,” he said.
“Sen. Roberts doesn’t have to agree with me, but he has to abide. If he doesn’t agree with me, he can appeal and there is a process for appealing,” he added.
Sen. Humphrey said no one can say that he has demonstrated bias in handling sittings of the Upper House.
“No objective observer can say in the House I have been biased. My obligation in the House which is what I said when I took the oath in my inaugural speech is to uphold the dignity of the House and to implement these rules, and I’ve done so without fear or favour,” he said.
The Senate President refrained from evaluating the performance of his Trade Unionist Colleague in the Upper House thus far.
Speculation is rife that the Roberts/Humphrey relationship became strained in 2013 when the Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC) took the decision to select the former to replace the latter as the Labour representative in the Senate.
Minutes before the decision was taken, Humphrey reportedly met privately with Roberts and asked him to step aside to give him another term to complete some unfinished business in the Upper House.
Roberts is said to have and indicated that the decision should be left to the voting TUC delegates.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Roberts had secured support from most of the trade union delegates especially from among the ranks of the Grenada Union of Teachers and the Public Workers Union (PWU).
Sen. Roberts is considered as sympathetic to the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), while Sen. Humphrey, an expelled member of Congress now gives his support to the ruling New National Party (NNP) under the banner of “Project Grenada”.