Warmington calls Hylton 'quashie lawyer'; deputy speaker says it's inappropriateThursday, October 28, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Member of Parliament for St Catherine South West, the Jamaica Labour Party's Everald Warmington, was on Wednesday upbraided by the Deputy Speaker of House, Juliet Holness, for his uncouth behaviour after he made disparaging remarks about the Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Anthony Hylton.
Warmington described Hylton as a “quashie lawyer” who he claimed had never won a case in court.
This came after Hylton intervened in defence of his colleague, the Member of Parliament for St Mary Central, Dr Morais Guy, who was interrupted by Warmington firstly on a point order, then a point of clarification, while Guy was making his contribution to the State of the Constituency (SOC) debate.
Warmington continued to go after Hylton, referring to him as “Tony” on occasions, as Holness tried to rein him in.
Interestingly, Warmington, who is Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation which is located in the Office of the Prime Minister, took offence at the fact that Guy was detailing the poor state of the roads in his constituency and the length of time it was taking to have them fixed.
While government MPs, during their contribution to the SOC debate have heaped praise on Warmington, who is in charge of Works, for addressing the situation in their constituencies, even as they also highlight the challenges they face with bad roads, Guy gave no such credit. Rather, he likened the appearance of some roads in his constituency to a river bed and insisted it was the duty of the government to have them fixed.
At this point, Warmington, who had been speaking off-mic as Guy spoke, rose initially on a point of order and the deputy speaker appeared incredulous as she questioned whether Warmington was, in fact, raising a point of order during a SOC presentation.
Rather than backing down, the cantankerous Warmington switched to a “point of clarification” but Holness initially to her guns, telling him “You cannot have a point or order (or) point of clarification”.
At this point, Hylton rose to his feet and remarked that no clarification was requested at which point Warmingtion snapped “Take your seat you quashie lawyer, take your seat”.
Quashie is a term that refers to a black person, usually male, who is of little or no significance.
By this time, Warmington who was shouting and now addressing Guy, said: “He (Guy) never asked me for any assistance (to fix roads) and don't get it; once he asks, he's always gotten assistance”.
Not amused by the comment, Hylton, still on his feet, told the speaker that Warmington's actions amounted to an “abuse of House privilege”.
Warmington received loud applause and much desk thumping from his government colleagues for his performance, during which he was heard with his customary “shut yuh mouth” as he addressed Opposition members.
At this point, the deputy speaker tried to calm the situation, even telling Warmington that he knew the Standing Orders which govern the running of the House “better than any of us”.
But, Warmington would insist that he rose on a point of clarification and not a point of order at which point Holness told him not to interrupt a member giving a speech during the SOC debate. Warmington retorted that it was his duty to intervene when the House was being misled and once more he received applause from his colleagues. He reiterated that Guy never asked him for assistance and did not receive it.
At this stage Hylton rose on a point of order but was told by Warmington “Tony, take yuh seat man”.
As Hylton remained standing while trying to speak, Warmington shouted over him “That's why yuh a quashie lawyer”.
At this point, a visibly upset Lisa Hanna, the MP for St Ann South East, who was famously called Jezebel by Warmington in January 2016 when she was a government minister, rose to her feet to complain to the deputy speaker.
“If it is that a member is going to abuse another one verbally by calling them names in this House, I don't believe…,” Hanna said while being interrupted by government MPs.
Undeterred, Hanna said: “You cannot refer to someone's reputation in this way, relegating them to the bottom of the barrel; it's not fair".
Hanna then asked Holness to ask Warmington to withdraw his remarks.
“Madam Speaker, I am prepared to withdraw the statement I made if he (Hylton) can tell me one single case he has won in court,” Warmington shot back.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who was acting as leader of government business in the House, rose at this point and asked that Guy's time be extended for him to finish his presentation.
While Holness proceeded to thank Warmington for withdrawing the statement, he promptly corrected her.
“I never withdraw it, ma'am, madam speaker. I said if he can tell me a single case he won in court then I withdraw it.”
As Guy was about to continue his presentation, the Opposition MP for St Andrew South Western, Dr Angela Brown-Burke, rose on a point of order in Hylton's defence.
Brown-Burke told Holness that she thought the matter raised by Hanna deserved her intervention but was not addressed.
“I believe it (Warmington's description of Hylton) is unbecoming, the language used towards another member, and I believe really and truly if we are setting an example, this is not it.”
Holness' response to Brown-Burke was simply “member Guy,” as she signalled for him to resume his presentation.
However, at the end of Guy's presentation, Holness returned to the matter, at which time she upbraided Warmington in his absence as he had already left the chamber.
She pointed to Standing Order 35 (4) which prohibits the use of offensive language in the chamber.
Noting that she has heard members directing inappropriate language at each other, Holness said “Whether or not you feel it is offensive or insulting language does not necessarily prevent such a statement from being at the very least, inappropriate”.
She charged members to show respect for each other and she committed to speak to Warmington again, while describing his remarks about Hylton as inappropriate and which should not be repeated.
Ironically, some of the same MPs who were cheering Warmington along were now applauding the deputy speaker for the stance she was now taking against his behaviour.
Holness agreed with Hylton that it was not the first time she had heard Warmington make the statement but said it was the first he had done so while she sat in the speaker's chair and as such she felt she had to address the matter.