Archive for October 1st, 2011

UDP backbencher accuses opposition leader of assault

| 01/10/2011 | 217 Comments

(CNS): Friction between a government backbencher and the opposition members spilled over into the back corridors of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday afternoon after an abrupt suspension by the speaker. The fourth elected member for George Town and former talk-show host, Ellio Solomon, has accused the leader of the opposition of assaulting him. During a guest appearance on his former radio talk-show on Friday he said he intended to press charges. The UDP backbencher told current Rooster hosts, Austin Harris and Gilbert McLean, that unless Alden McLaughlin apologised, he would be going to the police about the alleged incident. The leader of the PPM told CNS that he had “assaulted no one” and made no further comment.

An incident supposedly took place in the members’ lunch room during an enforced suspension after Solomon was reportedly insulting opposition members and was continuing a disagreement that had started in the Legislative Assembly chamber itself between him and the PPM member for East End, Arden McLean.

As a result of a ruling by Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence to strike the comments from the official legislative record, CNS cannot reveal the full details of the exchange across the Legislative Assembly floor without risking some form of censure by the speaker.

The argument related to comments that Solomon had made in relation to McLean, which were said “off mike” in the LA earlier this month at a time when the East End member was absent — at the time he was overseas attending to a family medical emergency. The comments made by Solomon had not been recorded in the Hansard, so the accusations made by McLean and the subsequent heated argument, which included the premier berating the speaker, were all struck from the record.

During the enforced suspension it is understood that the increasing animosity on display in the Chamber between government and opposition, which normally subsides once the members are “off stage”, allegedly was continued by the UDP backbencher behind the scenes.

Solomon is developing something of a reputation for pushing parliamentary privilege and the rules of adversarial engagement and legislative procedures further than most. He was recently the subject of an amusing and pointed statement which the speaker allowed Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, to make after Solomon had also made unfounded allegations about Miller’s son.

The veteran parliamentarian took a strip off the novice government member in his statement but also pointed to government members who would "snigger, clap and giggle" as they encouraged Solomon "to flirt with that line between moral, ethical and common decency" and the "personal vitriolic attacks" he was making during debates.

Read Miller’s full speech below.

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Retirement not end of road says community minister

| 01/10/2011 | 20 Comments

(CNS): The community needs to embrace the skills and experience of older people and encourage their participation in the community through part time and voluntary opportunities the community affairs minister said in his message marking International Day of Older Persons on Saturday. Mike Adam said people needed to change the way they thought about old age and older persons especially as the size of this demographic grows in the Caribbean region and many people already work well beyond retirement age. He also pointed to the need to help older people master new technology.

“A good start is changing the way we relate to old age. Representing about 13 percent of the Caribbean population, seniors — and their experience and skills — present a wealth of opportunity for society,” Adam stated. “We can tap into this resource by creating part-time, volunteer and other opportunities for our older people, so they can remain in the mainstream longer. Seeing retirement age and beyond as the end of the road means throwing away lifetimes of valuable experience.”

The United Nations' International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October to recognize the contributions of older persons and to raise awareness on issues that affect their lives. Locally, senior citizens and their contributions to society will be celebrated throughout the month of October with community activities including the annual seniors’ retreat and wellness fair.

See Ministers’ full message below along with senior activities throughout October

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