Opposition politicians were back in the Legislative Assembly Thursday after staging a one-day walkout on proceedings in protest over disciplinary action taken against Newlands MLA Alva Suckoo.
Mr. Suckoo was suspended from the House for a day over comments he made that were interpreted by Speaker McKeeva Bush as an attack on his integrity. His fellow Opposition members and Independent legislator Kenneth Bryan all walked out in solidarity with Mr. Suckoo, Wednesday, saying the actions of the speaker were “unjust.”
All of the members were back in their seats for the start of proceedings Thursday with the exception of Mr. Suckoo, whose ban from the assembly ran until 11 a.m. He joined the others on the opposition benches at 11 a.m., with the House in Finance Committee to discuss supplementary appropriations to the government budget.
There was no mention in the morning session of the previous day’s drama, but Opposition members indicated at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the matter was not over.
Ezzard Miller, leader of the Opposition, said members were considering all options, potentially including asking for a vote of no confidence in the Speaker.
Mr. Suckoo was suspended from the House for a day after Premier Alden McLaughlin brought a motion to censure him. Mr. Bush had highlighted a remark by the deputy opposition leader that he believed was an attempt to imply he was working with the China Harbour Engineering Company, a Chinese government company rumored to be involved with one of the bids to build new cruise piers in George Town harbor.
Though Mr. Suckoo did not mention the name of any company or any specific member during the debate on Cayman Brac last Thursday, Mr. Bush said it was clear the comment was aimed at him and demanded an apology. Mr. Suckoo declined to apologize.
The Opposition has argued that Mr. Suckoo did not refer to Mr. Bush by name and that the censure was unjust. They have also highlighted correspondence by Mr. Bush, in which he indicates that he is “introducing” China Harbour to the Belize government.
Mr. Bush acknowledged he was part of a trade mission to Belize and that he is representing a Chinese government pharmaceutical company through his firm WMB International Consulting but denies any business relationship with China Harbour.