Senate president warns senators against unbecoming conduct

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Senate president warns senators against unbecoming conduct

Some members of the Senate have opted to disregard the Standing Orders.

That’s according to Senate President Nigel de Freitas.

During the sitting on Tuesday, de Freitas warned Senators against unbecoming conduct and using the occasion of greetings in the Senate to make overly charged statements or voice negative personal anecdotes.

He cited two occurrences in the Senate, “…Both of which were very evident at our last sitting and which have been a follow-on from previous sittings.”

De Freitas said, “The first matter relates to the increasing occurrence of random disturbances by members while another member is making his/her contribution. At the last Senate sitting on March 28, this House witnessed a member vociferously taking issue with a personal anecdote delivered during greetings by another Member. There is no doubt that such conduct is unbecoming.”

He reminded Senators that the Senate’s Standing Orders mandate that Members maintain silence while another is speaking.

“That notwithstanding, you will agree with me that from this Chair, a degree of leniency has traditionally been granted in the context of light exchange among members who are not speaking. However, it has become apparent that some members have opted to disregard the Standing Orders and rather spectacularly disturb the contributions of Members, even during greetings … this practice is not in keeping with the rules of proper decorum in this House.”

He also urged Senators to reacquaint themselves with the rules of order provided for in Standing Orders 42, 51, 52 and 53.

Regarding greetings on various nationally recognised occasions, De Freitas said greetings ought to be an ideal or a message that is inherently positive in nature, relating to the occasion being observed.

“I have noted with concern that in recent times, Members have used greetings to make overly charged statements or voice negative personal anecdotes.”

Underscoring that T&T is rich in multi-culturalism, De Freitas said, “As such, greetings must not and shall not be used in a way that may be construed as injurious. At all times, greetings ought to be respectful to this August House, to the occasion to which it relates and by extension, to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”