Barbados Parliament removes deputy speaker amid sex-related charges

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has defended the decision to remove Neil Rowe as deputy speaker of the Parliament, saying it will allow him to deal with a matter he faces before the High Court.

Last September, Magistrate Deidre McKenna ordered that Rowe stand trial before the High Court on the charge that he had sexual intercourse with a woman on September 18, 2022, without her consent or was reckless as to whether she consented.

The ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP), which controls all 30 seats in the Parliament, on Tuesday voted to remove Rowe from his post after Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business, Santia Bradshaw moved the motion to rescind his appointment.

Mottley said that the decision removes Parliament from being embroiled in the private issues of a member.

“In this case, there is no consideration whatsoever of anything other than the Deputy Presiding Officer of the Parliament of Barbados being involved in a private matter. It is a judgement of all of us, that he be allowed the time to allow himself to deal with this matter, and indeed to be able to ensure that his assertion of innocence is capable of being pursued,” said Mottley, insisting that Rowe will remain as the parliamentary representative for St Michael North West constituency.

“By the same token, while that is going on and he be given all of the space to do that, we have to ensure that the public business of the Parliament of Barbados, and by extension, as an arm of the Government of Barbados, can continue without, as I said, being embroiled in the private issues of a particular member,” she said, pointing out that this is the third instance where a Deputy Speaker of the House has faced legal issues.”

She said that there is no issue of his representation as a parliamentarian, adding “that is a member for the people of St Michel North West that was settled.

“And indeed, that is not an issue in this matter at all,” Mottley added.

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