Bean: Speaker Position Has ‘Become Untenable’

March 17, 2015

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday [Mar 16], Opposition Leader Marc Bean told Speaker of the House Randy Horton that his position as Speaker “has become untenable.”

This follows after Deputy PLP Leader David Burt was ejected from the House on Friday after making multiple point of orders over the Speaker allowing an amendment to go to a vote without debate.

In a statement to the House yesterday, Speaker Horton said, “Upon careful reflection, I believe that I could and should have taken a different course of action on Friday evening.”

“It certainly was not my intention to prevent or shut down debate on the original motion or the amended motion. I had heard some argument on whether the amended motion should be allowed and I ruled I thought it could be put, and I stand by that decision.

The Speaker added, “In my haste to move the debate along, I allowed it to be brought to a vote. Upon reflection, and with the benefit of hindsight, I now accept that I should not have allowed the amended motion to be brought to a vote at such an early stage.”

Speaker Horton also raised objections to MP David Burt sharing his letter of complaint with the press, saying: “This action was more than disappointing, for it completely cut across, if not undermined, the procedures by which this House is to be governed and by which it is meant to govern itself.”

“I view this action as a violation of a member’s duty to the House and its rules and procedures, for addressing matters of the House even where a member feels that he is right and that he is justifiably aggrieved – it’s wrong and it is unhelpful.

“Some of the reported remarks were, at the very least, disrespectful and, whether intended or not, bordered on being contemptuous of the Speaker, the House, and how we govern ourselves,” added the Speaker.

The PLP gave notice of a motion seeking to censure the Speaker during yesterday’s sitting, however prior to that the Opposition Leader attempted to bring the matter up in the House, with the Speaker explaining that while he has a right to do so, the correct way to do it is through a substantive motion as the Speaker cannot speak to the matter in the House.

A 7 minute excerpt of part of the exchange between Marc Bean and the Speaker

Transcription of the exchange in the audio above:

Marc Bean: Mr. Speaker, my last statement on Friday the 13th, 2015. My last statement to you, Mr. Speaker after you had acknowledged me was that you had brought this honourable house into disrepute. After hearing your statement at the beginning of today’s sitting and contemplating on your thoughts and your words, I now must stand as a matter of privilege to discharge my obligation and duty to the people of this country to explain why your position as a Speaker of the House has become untenable.

Speaker: Again, honourable member, you are talking about the behavior or impugning the motives of the Speaker. The Speaker cannot answer those. You have a right to do it and as I said to you earlier, you have a right to do it, but the right way to do it is through a substantive motion. I would urge you to carry that through a substantive motion.

Marc Bean: Mr. Speaker, I submit that by your statements, not ours, you have admitted that you have…

Speaker: Honourable member, you’re going to raise a matter of privilege. It’s a breach of privilege by the Speaker. That’s what you bring. You’re bringing a breach of privilege by the Speaker. From what you’ve said so far, let me just respond to that. My response is in fact that you are bringing forward a matter of privilege which was in your right to do. Secondly, it’s a breach of privilege by the Speaker. When you bring a breach of privilege by the Speaker, bringing a breach of privilege, the members have to have an opportunity to speak. That’s what democracy is about. So you cannot bring a breach of privilege against the Speaker because the Speaker can’t speak in the House. The way in which to deal with any poor behaviour, anything wrong that is done by the Speaker is through standing order 10.

Marc Bean: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I’m standing as a matter of privilege, but I’m not questioning you from the basis of a breach of privilege, but I stated on Friday Mr. Speaker, that you have brought the House into disrepute. That’s not a question of privilege.

Speaker: Honourable member, it is. It certainly is. If I’ve brought the House into disrepute, that’s my behaviour you’re talking about honourable member. You’re impugning my behaviour and if you’re impugning my behaviour, I want the opportunity to stand there and speak. Please take your seat while I’m speaking. I need the opportunity to stand and speak; if you’re going to impugn me, then I need to be speaking. That’s why, honourable member, in the orders it says that you have a substantive motion when a member is impugning and in this case, if you go to the standing orders in regards to breaches of privileges, members have a right to speak for 20 minutes, the person making the accusation and then if I’m accused, I want to speak. You’re not going to accuse me without having the opportunity to speak.

Marc Bean: Fair enough, Mr. Speaker. So as I rise as a matter of privilege, and as you say will be impugning your character or impugning proper notice, may I recommend that you allow the Deputy Speaker to assume the chair and so I can proceed and you can sit on the floor and speak.

Speaker: No sir

Marc Bean: One point there Mr. Speaker, for clarity, if we are to proceed with the motion as you suggest, at what point will you have the opportunity to speak for the 20 minutes as you alluded to as the Speaker of the Opposition?

Speaker: No. In a substantive, if you’re bringing it up in a breach, you need to say we’re bringing it up, it’s brought up now and members speak across the floor. If you do a substantive motion, then I move out of the House in a substantive motion. I move outside the House, but when you’re doing the manner in which you’re carrying it and because the orders say that when there are breaches of privilege, that the member whose being charged with a breach of privilege has a right to speak for 20 minutes. In that way, I won’t have that opportunity, honourable leader.

Marc Bean: Mr. Speaker, as you will note on the order paper, we have already submitted a motion of censure against the Speaker, which I think I was explaining and that will be the opportune time for us to deal with the censure motion. That is in regards to behaviour of Friday past, Mr. Speaker. What I am standing as a matter of privilege is to explain why your position as Speaker has become untenable – not from Friday, but from December 21st 2012, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Honourable member, what I’m saying is you can do that. I don’t mind you doing that, but you’re not going to do it in this manner. You can do it in a censure motion. In a censure motion you can say hey, from December 18 these are the things and this member needs to be censured, whatever you consider needs to be done. That’s quite fine. That’s within your right.

Government Motion Against The Opposition Leader

As the Opposition moves to take action against the Speaker, the Government simultaneously moved to take action against the Opposition Leader, giving notice of a motion seeking to censure Mr. Bean for comments he made as the PLP exited the House on Friday evening.

The motion, moved by OBA MP Mark Pettingill on behalf of the Government, said it “condemns and expressed disgust at the words and actions” of the Leader of the Opposition and “censures the member accordingly.”

It said it “abhors the action of the member” in “verbally threatening Members of the House and showing total disrespect to the Office of the Speaker of the House”, with the motion seeking to “suspend” Mr Bean “from the service of the House.”

Speaking to Bernews after the motion to censure Mr Bean was moved, Mr Pettingill said that over the last two-and-a-half years, there have been repeated “vitriolic and offensive comments”.

“We have to be a system of rules and of decorum, even when we don’t like them,” said Mr Pettingill. “For many, many years I’ve been in court. I don’t always like the decision of the judge makes, but I can’t start making vitriolic attacks on him or on the jury or so on if I don’t like it. There has to be a way to go about that, and I think the time has come.”

“We’ve had this going on now for some time, it’s got to stop. I think that Friday just went beyond the pale, and the appropriate way to go about that is to bring this type of motion that the government has tabled today,” added Mr Pettingill.

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Comments (46)

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  1. What’s that old saying,what people think about you until you open your mouth and eliminate all doubts?
    The House Speaker had said what he has to say and “dat it”.

    • Ummm... says:

      If you’re going to use the quote, use it correctly…

      “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

      Abraham Lincoln

      • I see you knew what I was referring to…Without it being said / written verbatim :-)

      • MAKE MY DAY says:

        One of the BEST presidents the USA has ever had – from the “land-of-Lincoln”….Illinois state!! He has more common sense and “character” in his right foot – than BHO will ever hope to have!!

        Lincoln – one of the best…. Hussein Odummer – one of the worst!!! Just another 665 days before BHO goes for GOOD from the “Peoples House”!!

        There will be “fireworks and champagne” celebrations nationwide on that day – by millions of Americans!!

        • Mockingjay says:

          Obama was better then Nixon , Baby Bush and the other Presidents that hated Blacks and were Slave owners.
          But I guess you don’t like Obama because he’s Black.
          Go figure.

          • Russ says:

            The issue is competence, or in this case, an utter lack of it. A hatred of one’s country is also a clear detriment to effective governance.

          • MAKE MY DAY says:

            WRONG….He is nothing more than a very INCOMPETENT *Community Organizer* and Marxist Chicago thug!!

            I like blacks who use their brains and don’t hold “Slave Day Grudges” from 150 yrs ago – like Dr. Ben Carson – Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell – to name a few!!

  2. Vote for Me says:

    It is interesting to note that MP Burts analysis of the Speakers role from Friday was correct.

    If we also accept that MP Burt sat down as appropriate during the sitting on Friday, what happens to the actual proposal from MP Walton Brown if the Speaker handled it incorrectly on Friday?

    At least we have a few weeks to May 15 for cooler heads to prevail.

    • BDAFriend says:

      To quote Mr Horton…

      “Mr Horton said the matter should be referred to the House’s Standing Orders Committee, which would make recommendations in regards to further action that should be taken.”

      I also presume that the amendment would be put to the House again and a debate would take place and vote would be retaken. Simple.

  3. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    You know, it’s no wonder Horton got confused if this is the sort of thing he has to deal with.

    At some point in that exchange at least one person has to be thinking, didn’t this start with an issue about procedure?

  4. BT CHECKER says:

    Do all members of the PLP actually agree with Bean position above?

    This is so unusual – I am sure all the bloggers (whatever party they support)would welcome input from other members of the PLP party as to their position on this.

    All we have heard is from Bean and Burt, but it appears that the entire opposition agree that the Speaker’s position is “untenable”. Is this correct?

    • BT CHECKER says:

      I find these sites so confusing – how can there be 5 “dislikes” for a query. This really is an unusual circumstance the House finds itself in I would love to hear some views from others

    • mj says:

      I think Mr. Bean is the most honest representative in the house, so to find honour amongst thieves is rare, however, Mr.Bean has a record of being to the point and I like it that way I would prefer the cold hard truth to a white lie any day..So many fake phony people around making their voice go up octaves just to please others, please ya damn selves and stand up for truth! He is the closest to it that I know and admire and respect him for who he is.. And most of the time he makes people look ignorant because he knows most people don’t read so they just get appalled without knowing why!! nothing new under the sun…people perish for lack of knowledge, in knowing the truth!

  5. Starting Point says:

    Bean’s strategies are so ridiculously juvenile and amateur. This will be written down somewhere from his ‘dad’ Ewart.

    Blow a simple mistake from the speaker out of proportion and feign outrage
    Have speaker removed to sit again on the PLP bench, or more likely get rid of the old school labour PLP member for a fellow new school bully PLP member
    Force the OBA to put a speaker in place
    Tear into every decision, every comment, every move of the new speaker to demonstrate that the OBA is manipulative, un trustworthy etc.

    Continue to do nothing, talk about BS visions with zero action items or strategies to make them happen, knowing that their voting base tends to have no interest in actual governance but are like professional wraslin fans who can be manipulated to boo the ‘bad guy’ even if he was the good guy the day before. The more I think about it the more I am sure that the PLP have Vince McMahon as a consultant somewhere.

  6. Lala says:

    They want to knock Horton out as speaker in the hope that the OBA would be forced to choose one of their own as speaker thus changing the % in the house.

    Totally tactical, as usual.

    • Ummm... says:

      But isn’t that why Mr. Horton was asked to be Speaker in the first place???

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    The Speaker made a bad judgement call. It is not like he imported illegals in the dead of night without consulting anyone. Where was Bean when that happened?

    The speaker has recognised his bad judgement call to all. Ashame everyone can’t be perfect like Bean & Burt. Guess the rest of us are only human.

    A poor call by Bean & Burt. They will now have the special attention of the Speaker making sure that both of them observe HOA rules to the letter. No easement. No exceptions.

    Keep digging that hole guys. Keep digging that hole.

  8. Terry says:

    Damn I wish Winston “SUPPER” Lottimore was still around.

    Yo…sit down.

  9. jt says:

    OBA just keep quite and let things unfold. Interested to hear Bean’s laundry list on the Soeaker. Also waiting for his promised dirt on the government. Out with it sir!

  10. Betty Dump says:

    We are paying these jokers how much money to sit around and criticize each other while the Bermudian people continue to struggle? And yet they talk about attending to the people’s business…. smh

    • hmmm says:

      PLP disrupting, stalling and wasting our time everyday all for power and not for the people. Remember that when you vote.

      Who put us in the mess (PLP)
      Who are working to get us out of the mess (The OBA)
      Who tried to slow down, stall and put roadblocks in the way. (PLP)

      • Truth Teller says:

        Without Randy Horton as the speaker the government would be lucky to last for another three to six months.

      • Regina says:

        Agree! I am paying you lot to get a job done. Quit arguing amongst yourselves and get the dam job done!!! All of you!

      • TSOL says:

        Well Said, and completely true.

  11. Following is a letter written by “Ruby” an hour ago:

    “Please name a parliamentary democracy or any other style democracy that has removed a speaker for making an error and then admitting it?
    While your at it, please provide a bone fide reference that confirms, “technically” that he should be removed for this error.
    Bermuda does deserve better. It deserve an Opposition party that goes back to work instead of media grandstanding.”

    • mj says:

      How do you call it media grandstanding. Good thing Mr. Burt did pursue the issue after all we ALL heard it in a PUBLIC forum ! The fact is too many people jumped to conclusion based on who they like or dislike, not facts, not even truth!!! smdh this world is a mess!!!! can’t rely on retards to clean it up, the public can’t even make up their own mind without taking into consideration whose side they are on tsk tsk tsk….get a clue, grow up and try to look at the world as you would have people treat you!Um glad Mr. Burt recieved the reply he sought for the clarity of all.Don’t hear oba talking about the debacle this a.m in the house with G Gibbons trying to spin yarn around his many attempts to mislead the public, also Mr. Sylvan Richards and former Premier, Craig Cannoniere, it is pathetic the representation that we have in our country! Can’t even spin a lie properly!Atlantic property on south shore sold to the highest bidder for 9million dollars!!!!!mr.Gibbons nitpicking on a word, for free or free he still said it and don’t want to admit. just pathetic !!!!and the education minister needs to be re educated. What a relief that the opposition is alert and never skip a beat when it comes to doing their job..

  12. Forethebest says:

    I wish these people would just get to work!

  13. JohnBoy says:

    Oh, Dr Brown must be so proud of Beanymon right now.

  14. Huh says:

    If there is anyone in Bermuda who has their boot on the neck of the Bermudian voter, it IS the Leader of the PLP. His bizarre behaviour and outlandish pronouncements have potential investors (incl. sea bed mining) & visitors reeling with dismay that this man could possibly be the Leader of the Bermuda Govt.. It is obvious that he is attempting to create an atmosphere of uncertainty, chaos & confusion so that there is very little economic growth under the OBA and he can swoop in and really STOMP on the voters.

  15. Concerned says:

    Wonder if all of the investigations into the over spending projects are near completion

    • James Rego says:

      What ever happened to the slander charges Bean & Burt are facing from Cannonier & Pettingill? When is this going to trial?

  16. Terry says:

    So Mr. Bean told the Speaker that his position as Speaker “has become untenable”.

    Irony.
    One of their own has left the pasture and is content on trying to preserve the feeding ground for all.

    They will continue to try and burn him in his seat because he is a traitor to them- (they=PLP)

    Having knowing Randy from his past over 45+ years ago he has put that behind him (research) and is standing strong for ALL.

    Shalom Mr. Speaker.

  17. Navin Johnson says:

    Mr Bean he of gooooonnnn hoooome. Just get on with it. Who cares about point of order,rise to speak….on this dinky little dot in the middle of nowhere we have way too many useless politicians…..3 good ones are all we need the rest…just dead wood……one politician for every 8 people……joke

  18. Terry says:

    If it is “untenable” Mr. Bean I suggest you leave the house.

    Look up the definition.

  19. Cow Polly says:

    When did Bermudians become so intolerant of people’s mistakes and so rude to each other?

    At the end of the day, the Speaker made a mistake, he admitted it and has involved the Standing Orders Committee to give guidance on correcting it, end of story. There is no need for censure or his removal. He was not calling people names. The Opposition Leader is acting like his own Judge and Jury.

    As for Marc Bean’s behavior, he reminds me of child who will continue to throw his toys out of the pram and have temper tantrums until he is given boundaries and limits to adhere to. Whomever is responsible for this man needs to put him on time out until he learns how to behave in a civilized society.

  20. bluebird says:

    We are not sure whom mr bean is trying to impress?

  21. Unbelievable says:

    Marc Bean calling the Speaker’s position untenable. I’m sure there are some OBA women thinking what a laugh he is.

  22. Balanced Facts says:

    Bean has spouted off with nonsense conspiracy theories and allegations for over 2 years (he said the OBA Government would last 12 months). Every time some issue arises he has information that he will share that will take the Government out…and then he produces nothing! He has been sued by 3 Government members, investigated by the police on at least 2 occasions (betting shop and Toni Daniels) and made numerous vitriolic and embarrassing statements! The PLP got rid of Dame Jennifer, Alex Scott ,Ewart Brown and Paula Cox when they did not like the leadership…how long can they possibly put up with this “master mind”???

    • jt says:

      In reality he might be good for Bermuda in his present role.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Inclined to disagree, he is responsible for some of the worst wastes of time in the house, costing this country progress and reputation. The list of those willing to come invest here if there is the potential of him running things in the future is small, no matter how hard the OBA try.

        • jt says:

          I see your point, but I suspect most investors see beyond Bean when they assess risks related to the PLP returning to government. In addition to past performance, no one in the party presents anything that differs from what their leader publicly presents. Any reasonable person has to assume there has been no change in philosophy, approach or ability.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Wrong on one point, they didn’t drive out Dr. Brown, he left before he would have to fully face the consequences that his rampant lack of oversight on overspending would bring to the people of this country.

  23. Kangoocar says:

    Untenable??? Seriously beany??? Who told you to use that word when referring to the Speaker of the House, Betty ??? Please look up the definition of the word before you use it!!! And YOU think you should be the Premier of Bermuda??? We already are the laughing stock of the world because of the plp!!! You must have been sipping on your special plp tea and listening to Betty who suggested you use that word??? Hahahahahahaha

  24. Coffee says:

    Time for a by-election in 35 !

  25. cromwell says:

    Will this debate and attack on the Speaker now continue in the same way outside the House and outside of privilege where you can now be legally held responsible for what you say about other people;like slander and liable!