Speaker of the House of Assembly Robert Hall appears to have exceeded the customary boundaries and protocol of his role by calling on the governor to dismantle the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) headed by Helen Garlick.
Speaker of the House Robert Hall
According to Hall, the SIPT is costing too much, but he went further and added that his remarks coincided with the premier’s call for the dismissal of the Attorney General Huw Shepheard, saying the SIPT and Shepheard are both on a witch hunt. This, Hall said, is distracting the current government as a result of the pending prosecutions. However, thus far, none of the current ministers or members of the House of Assembly have been prosecuted.
Hall’s comments were made as four former ministers and other individuals are due to appear in the Supreme Court in Providenciales this week for another plea and directions hearing in relation to various criminal charges against them, including bribery, fraud and money laundering.
Hall has previously been criticised for departures from protocol when, on several occasions in the early sessions of the current House, he made lengthy speeches of a ministerial nature. This is outside the duties and responsibilities of the speaker who, while a political appointee, is charged with conducting House meetings in a non-partisan manner.
Hall’s inappropriate public activities have caused him problems in the past when, as a talk show host and reporter for the government-owned Radio Turks and Caicos, he participated in the Airport Road shutdown protest in March 2011. Hall’s actions at the time resulted in then Governor Gordon Wetherell banning him from attending government press conferences.
In 1986s, when the TCI constitution was suspended as a result of the then Progressive National Party (PNP) government of Norman Saunders being caught up in a drug trafficking scandal, Hall, who was then a minister, was declared unfit to serve in government by the resulting Commission of Inquiry.