Today’s (Thursday) sitting of Parliament ended prematurely at 8:25 p.m. after a bat defecated on Speaker Rochelle Forde’s standing orders, multiple lawmakers have told iWitness News.
The suspension came as West Kingstown MP, Daniel Cummings, an opposition lawmaker, was debating an opposition motion calling for a halt of the development of the quarry at Richmond.
Around 8:24 p.m., Minister of Local Government, Senator Julian Francis, rose and asked that Cummings withdraw a statement.
Francis claimed that Cummings was imputing improper motives for the establishment of the quarry in Richmond.
In the moments immediately before Francis spoke, the Speaker appeared to have touched something on her desk then looked at her hands.
She then said, “Honourable Members, just give me a minute — on an unrelated matter. Madame Clerk, one minute, please.”
The clerk, Nichole Herbert approached the speaker’s desk and the two appeared to speak but nothing of their exchange could be heard on the live broadcast.
In the meantime, the lawmakers continued with their cross talk and the speaker again told them she needed a minute “on an unrelated matter”.
The speaker and the clerk continued to speak in muted voices, during which the speaker gestured with her hands, as if taking account of the extent of something on her desk.
She then said, “I am going to ask — Honourable Member for West Kingstown, I have stopped your time. I am going to ask API to take the cameras down and put a halt on the live feed for a moment, please.”
iWitness News understands that after the live feed was cut, the speaker told lawmakers that a bat had defecated on her standing orders.
The sitting was then suspended until next Tuesday.
One lawmaker told iWitness News that there was a single bat flying around in the assembly chamber.
“It’s not that it was a clear and present danger,” the lawmaker said.