So, why didn't the Senate Committee Chairman, Aldo Salazar, simply order that his UDP colleagues be removed from the gallery for disrupting the hearings? You've heard him warn witnesses that the Senate Inquiry on Immigration is not a "soap opera". Yet, that's just what it devolved into because of the heckling. So, was he playing favorite today? That's what we asked him, and he rejected that saying, he was trying to defuse the situation before it got out of hand:
"There were certain members of the gallery today who are from your party and it seems that you were rather reluctant to throw them out for being disruptive."
Hon. Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee
"I don't agree with your characterization of reluctance, we did suspend the sitting when there was noise, I did speak with certain person that we need to have the senate respected, you would have heard me if you review your tape you will see that I said the same thing, we need to respect the business of the senate but remember we have to weigh the interest of the public as well. You would know that it was a particular request of the opposition when this was done that these hearings should be in public so we need to weigh both sides so that we really need to proceed in an orderly and respectable fashion. So although we may not be able to complain much about intervention here and there if there is really disruption then we really need to address it."
"But sir respectfully these gentlemen kept on with the disruptions even after when you spoke with them, they kept on shouting things at Senator Courtenay and from what I was observing it appeared that the police were waiting for instructions on whether or not they should remove these men. Isn't that an indication that you were not at that point prepared to ask for them to be removed?"
Hon. Aldo Salazar
"I think you may have been watching a different setting, I did ask for one to be removed by the police which is the point that which the people in the gallery became more heightened which is something we want to avoid. As you can see our police presence here is not which we would want to deal with a situation like that so it's really trying to manage with what we have and I feel today that was the best way we could manage it, in the future we will have to see how we can address it more appropriately with additional people from the police, I really feel we don't have enough person here today. I think that it's obviously political, it's always politics involved from both sides and that is really my concern, I'm politically appointed but I'm not politician so for me I want to maintain the corium and that is why for me I want to signal that I feel that this select committee is coming to an end of its usefulness. We are tasked with a certain duty, I feel that I'm prepared to write most of my report at this point to allow it to drag on and to proceed any further is really going to undermined the entire process, the entire objective which is going to cause exactly this, it's going to become a political - I believed I was the first to say that this is not a soap opera, it's a serious thing."