Sir Winston Churchill once said that “democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all the rest.” We have a clear example of that when it states in our Constitution “no civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any senator……by reason of any matter or thing so brought by him by petition, bill, motion or otherwise.”
A few weeks ago Senator Jerome Fitzgerald decided to attack the integrity of Nassau Motor Co. on the floor of the Senate. In a recent letter to the Press Mr. Rick Lowe, a director of the Company, presented the true facts of the matter and it is now obvious that the Senator, for reasons of his own, decided to create some mischief at the expense of Nassau Motor Co.
I have heard several people say “but the Senator is such a nice person.” If that is so, then let him now step out of the box, forget which party he represents for a moment and offer an apology to the Company in the same venue that he made the false accusation.
It should be very disturbing to every Bahamian to know that a Parliamentarian can stand on the floor of the House and make false accusations against any citizen which could damage or ruin the reputation of any company, organization or individual. It is not only shameful and cowardly but very undemocratic.
Laws can be changed or amended. In this respect I refer to the section on Parliamentary privilege in the constitution of New Zealand – “The privilege of free speech in Parliament carries an obligation to use it responsibly. The House has the ability to punish for contempt and an example of contempt would be to mislead the House or a Committee deliberately.”
It would be good to see Bahamians make an effort to see that this inadequacy in our Constitution and Statute Law, (specifically Chapter 84 of The Penal Code, Section 320) is corrected so that Parliamentarians would be sure of their facts before rushing to an attempt to damage or ruin reputations.