Opposition MP and former Premier under the One Bermuda Alliance administration, Michael Dunkley, offered an apology in the House on Friday, after the Speaker of the House of Assembly found that he broke the rules of Parliamentary procedure.
Mr Dunkley also told MPs that he would withdraw the comments he made the week before in a heated exchange with Progressive Labour Party MP and Deputy Speaker, Derrick Burgess on July 17.
At the centre of the dispute – the police investigation into a shipment of drugs found in a Dunkley’s Dairy container.
Mr Burgess had claimed that he had a report from a “chief investigating officer”, which was not investigation because of “white privilege”.
But Mr Dunkley, the President of Dunkley’s Dairy dismissed the claim as “total nonsense”.
He also asked for the comments to be withdrawn saying they represented an attempt to “impugn” his character.
The Speaker, Dennis Lister asked Mr Burgess to table the report at the next sitting while noting the he would decide then how to proceed.
“During the sitting of last Friday, the July 17th under the Motion to Adjourn, the member for Constituency 10 made a point of order that the member from Constituency 5 was misleading the House,” said Mr Lister.
“The point of order was accepted, at which time the member from Constituency 5 offered to produce the information to which he referred.
“Further to this, the ensuing exchange that followed resulted in breaches to standing orders by the member for Constituency 10.
“I state this to put the matter in the proper context that gives rise to me to address the matter today.,” he added.
“Firstly, the member for Constituency 5 has, as requested, provided the Speaker with the said documentation.
“Full credit is given to the member for honouring his commitment to produce the information.”
Based on an “extensive review” of the information, he ruled that it should be “directed to the judgment of the judicial branch and not the legislative branch”.
“Therefore the information will not be tabled,” said Mr Lister.
He also said Mr Dunkley was to withdraw comments and urged the MP to “acknowledge” a standing order in the rules of parliamentary debates.
“Members, I’ve ruled on last week’s matter, I consider the matter to be duly addressed,” he said.
Mr Dunkley stated: “If I breached any rules of the House I certainly will apologise and withdraw those comments.
“I’ve read the Hansard again and clearly I will follow your ruling,” he added.
“When we had a phone conversation today you also said that you would ask the Honourable member from Constituency 5 to do the same as I have just done.”
The Speaker replied: “I indicated that the matter will not be tabled and I think it’s in the best interests of all persons that it’s not been tabled, so the ruling looks to be fair to both members.
“I’ve ruled on it and I don’t intend to speak on it any more.”
During the Motion to Adjourn, Mr Burgess said that he was “satisfied that the document in question will be sent for the judgment of the judicial …”
But he was interrupted by the Speaker, who said he did not think “we should really go down that road” because it would “open up the conversation” for others.
Mr Burgess said he was “reading from the document” and not going against the Speaker’s judgment.
“I’m trying to be very cordial and proper,” he added.
“You cannot tell me, when I’m doing right, what to say and what not to say.”
The Speaker’s response: “’m not telling you what to say and what not to say.”
Asked whether he had anything to add to this report at 1:50pm and we were told a response was pending.