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PM regrets Opposition walkout from Parliament

PM regrets Opposition walkout from Parliament


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he regrets that opposition parliamentarians walked out of Parliament last Thursday.{{more}}

Gonsalves, speaking just before the day’s proceedings was adjourned, said that he genuinely wanted “in the interest of democracy for the Opposition to be here to ask the 19 questions which were on the order paper.

“The 19 questions which they had down — some of them with several parts and I have an envelope stacked full with the answers,” the prime minister said.

Gonsalves said that he had indicated to Dr Godwin Friday, Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, that he (Gonsalves) was only going to do the law revision bill and if need be, to put off the business to another day.

Friday was deputizing for Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, who was absent, nursing an injured shoulder.

The opposition had also tabled for debate its Spiritual and Social Redemption Charter, which it has failed to debate on several occasions.

But the opposition lawmakers walked out of the House, saying the Speaker failed to grant a request that a statement by Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel be withdrawn.

The walkout occurred minutes after the Speaker, Hendrick Alexander, summoned Miguel and MP for Central Kingstown St Claire Leacock to his chambers.

The meeting was in relation to Miguel’s comment that she had saved Leacock from going to jail.

Miguel was responding to Leacock’s comment, at a New Democratic Party rally on November 8, that Miguel was “helpless”.

“One of the rules in politics … Do not mess with a saint. Do not mess with a holy saint … Do not mess with someone who is a child of God. Do not trouble them,” Gonsalves said, adding that he regretted that matters turned out in the manner in which they did.

“The Honourable Member for Marriaqua and the Minister of Education is the virtual chaplain of our Cabinet,” he added.

The prime minister said it was not necessary for him to repeat what transpired between Miguel and Leacock before or after the conference with the Speaker.

He said that in his opinion Miguel had in fact made an amendment to what she had earlier said, in the sense that she spoke more precisely.

“And I am sorry that … I regret that the Opposition did not see the context to which she has spoken,” Gonsalves said.

He ended saying that he hoped that the opposition members would return soon to do the people’s business, adding that if they didn’t the plan by the government was to continue on with its business.

“And the people will make their judgement,” the prime minister said. (DD)