Reading the Nation newspaper back page story of 30 September 2021 with heading ‘Moe not in breach‘, should make all Barbadians- those with the required level of civic awareness- to pause. An easy conclusion to draw from the report is that Senator Lucille Moe was deliberate how she MANAGED her absence from the Upper Chamber. In fact she was well advised.
You will recall the goodly Senator suffered a bad reaction to being dismissed from Cabinet by Prime Minister Mia Mottley in July 20, 2020. It is no secret Moe up to the falling out was a good and faithful servant of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) AND Mia Mottley.The Moe incident is reminiscent of George Payne who inflicted a long period of silence on the Lower House while serving under Owen Arthur. The difference is that he did while present.
The blogmaster is always offended when public servants elected or selected to do the people’s business show obvious disrespect to the task AND the unwillingness of citizens to hold such offenders to account. Lucille Moe returned to the Upper House last month after her unexplained absence after eight months – and it is business as usual. The disrespect for the people of Barbados was measured in her contribution of that day when she criticized the ‘powers that be ‘for not facilitating remote access for Senators. One should assume this was her concern?
Read the Nation report.
Moe not in breach
SENATOR LUCILLE MOE will keep her seat in the Senate as she did not infringe rules in the Constitution by her prolonged absence from sittings.
This was stated by President of the Senate Reginald Farley at yesterday’s sitting, after he presented a detailed report in response to Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn’s earlier call for him to take action according to the Constitution and have Moe’s Senate seat declared vacant.
Farley said: “At the sitting [of] 18th August 2021, Senator Franklyn drew attention of the President that Senator Lucille Moe had not been seen since December in the Senate and thus in his opinion in accordance with Section 39-1 of the Constitution her seat should be declared vacant.”
He reminded senators that Section 39-1 provided “that the seat of a senator should become vacant (according to Section C) if he is absent from Barbados for a period exceeding 40 days at any time when the Senate is sitting, without the leave of the President given in accordance with the provisions of Subsection 2.”
That section of the Constitution permits the President of the Senate to grant leave to any senator to be absent from Barbados for any period not exceeding six months at any one time.
Farley continued: “The records indicate that Senator Lucille Moe attended the sitting of the Senate on 18th December 2020. The House of Assembly had earlier sat on the 15th December 2020 and thereafter went on annual recess, returning on 12th January 2021. So when the Senate met on December 18, 2020, it thereafter followed and went on recess until 12th January 2021.
“This fact is important as in the calculation of time towards the 40 days mentioned in the Constitution, days when the Senate is in recess are not to be taken into account in that calculation.
“Our information is that Senator Lucille Moe was in Barbados on the following days – January 5, February 20-21 and May 16-20, 2021. These days are also important, as the Constitution references absence from Barbados. When the periods are taken together, that is when the Senate was on recess and when Senator Moe was in Barbados during the periods that the Senate was sitting, the limit of 40 days was not breached.
Farley further explained that the House of Assembly
went on the usual break after the Estimates and returned on April 23, 2021.
“So when the Senate met for Estimates on March 24, it thereafter had gone into recess as well, the recess ending on April 23, 2021.
Farley said Moe applied for leave on May 19, 2021 adding that leave was granted for three months expiring on August 18, 2021.
“It should be noted that on every occasion when Senator Moe was not able to attend the Senate, her absence was communicated to the clerk and the President.
He noted: “However, the clerk had informed Senator Moe that while she acted in accordance with the standing orders of the Senate and notified both the clerk and President of her inability to attend Senate, she was made aware that such correspondence did not escape the operation of Section 39-1 of the Constitution and she was reminded to follow the prescription of Section 39-2.
Farley said Moe did follow this advice in May and sought leave from the President, which was granted for three months expiring on August 18, 2021.
“It should be pointed out that Senator Moe attended Senate on the 8th September 2021,” he said.
The President added: “I thank Senator Franklyn for raising this matter for the attention of the Senate and want to assure him that the clerk and myself were meticulous to ensure that the laws which govern the honour of the Senate were indeed followed.” (GC)