Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Leader of the Opposition and Eighth District Representative, Hon. Marlon Penn said that he is being stifled in the House of Assembly when he tries to do his duties as Leader of the Opposition and representative of the people.
During a media interview on June 4, Hon. Penn referenced the face-off he had with Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Willock during the June 3 sitting, where he was told to be silent. This, Hon. Penn told the media, is an example of muzzling.
The matter involving the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition attracted discussions in the wider community, with persons taking both sides.
Persons supporting the Leader of the Opposition felt that Hon. Penn was being bullied, and persons on the Speaker’s side felt that the Speaker was disrespected and the Leader of the Opposition was rude.
When Hon. Penn was asked by reporters if he was being insubordinate, he stated that he was not. The Leader of the Opposition told the media, “I was standing up for my right. You had a situation where a Speaker continues to pick on the Opposition and allow the Government members to run wild and run loose in the House of Assembly. You have Ministers getting up to give statements and talking as if they are under Other Business, and talk about all the other subjects.”
“I asked Hon. Vincent Wheatley a question, specific to a question that he is responsible for. The Premier got up without raising a point of order, intervened back and forth, and the Speaker wanted to silence me for responding to the Premier. He said nothing to the Premier. The question was posed to Hon. Vincent Wheatley. I will not allow the Speaker to silence me, because I am here representing people of this Territory,” Hon. Penn explained.
He further stated that he would continue to speak up for the people of the Territory in the House of Assembly, and explained that this was what he was doing during Monday’s sitting.
“The Eighth District has sent me to the House of Assembly for a third consecutive term to represent their interest, and I am now the Leader of the Opposition with responsibility to the entire Territory.”
Hon. Penn, who emphasized that he was treated unfairly, said that he would not be deterred in his push to represent the people.
“I would attempt to agitate in the House of Assembly as you see there is always an attempt to stifle me, and stifle the Opposition in the House of Assembly, but I am not deterred. I am a representative of the people, and I will continue to represent the people of this Territory.”
“I will continue to be respectful in the Hon. House, the House requires my respect and I have always been a respectful member of the Hon. House. I respect the Standing Orders and the Speaker needs to learn the Standing Orders and follow the Standing Orders as well, and be respectful of the Standing Orders,” he added.