Miller: I did not abuse privilege
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Oct 04, 2013
Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller said yesterday he “did not abuse” his parliamentary privilege in August when he named a man in connection with the 2002 murder of his son Mario Miller.
Miller said Speaker of the House of Assembly Dr. Kendal Major previously said that he was within his rights as a member of Parliament when he made the statements.
The former Cabinet minister said he was not inside the House of Assembly on Wednesday morning when Major expunged his comments and apologized for his (Miller’s) remarks.
However, Miller said if the speaker was in the mood to
apologize he should have offered apologies to “the dead”, meaning his son Mario.
On Wednesday, Major expunged comments Miller made nearly two months ago.
The speaker also apologized to the man Miller named and said he was “disappointed” that a private citizen was “defamed” without having recourse to defend himself.
“As a member of our community, an elected representative of a body of citizens, I completely understand the public’s outrage at the time, and I wish to register my personal displeasure as to what was said,” Major said.
“It is unfortunate too that it was unchallenged by any of the members present at that time.
“I wish to extend my personal apologies to the person who was defamed and also to the general public for this unfortunate incident.”
Major said incidents like the one in question should never take place in the House of Assembly.
“I was disappointed that a private citizen with no recourse to justice was defamed,” he said.
“As a result of this occurrence and upon reflection, I feel a moral sense of duty to make amends, notwithstanding the fact that the damage was done.
After Major expunged the comments he warned the media not to publish or broadcast Miller’s earlier statements because they would no longer be covered under parliamentary privilege.
But the comments have already been widely broadcast and published given Major’s earlier decision to leave them on the record of the House.
Major’s statement in the House of Assembly on Wednesday was a stark contrast to comments he made to The Nassau Guardian the day after Miller spoke in Parliament.
In that earlier interview, Major said the Tall Pines MP did not violate any parliamentary rules, which is why he did not caution Miller or ask him to withdraw his words.
However, the speaker said on Wednesday he hoped the House of Assembly would consider creating a rule that would allow citizens who are aggrieved by statements made in Parliament to have some form of redress.
In one of its recommendations to the government, the Constitutional Commission said while it did not think limitations should be placed on parliamentary privilege, citizens who are subject to unwarranted personal attacks should have the right to respond from the bar of either chamber.