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NDP intends to challenge in court government action in Parliament

NDP intends to challenge in court government action in Parliament

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The New Democratic Party (NDP) intends to challenge in court, actions by the Government, which the party says prevented them from debating a No Confidence motion in Parliament.

At a rally held at Heritage Square on Wednesday evening, supporters of the Opposition NDP gathered to hear speeches from their parliamentarians who had chosen not to attend the evening session of Parliament.

The parliamentarians stayed away after Speaker of the House Jomo Thomas allowed Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to move a motion to amend the No Confidence motion they had filed on Monday, into a motion which expressed confidence in the Government.

With Daniel Cummings, representative for West Kingstown and a host of the proceedings, saying to the crowd, as the rally began, that they were the jurors, and that all the speakers that night were going to put the Government on trial, the crowd became more animated after each speaker.

When the Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday took to the stage, the cheers were especially loud, as he thanked them for a “wonderful show of solidarity.”

Friday said that what had happened earlier in Parliament was unconstitutional: “What was done today goes against the Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), a Constitution that many people have fought for before us, to make sure that we had those freedoms.

“The Opposition can bring a motion of no confidence in the House of Parliament and that is supposed to be debated and a consequence is, if it passes, the Government falls. This is protected in the Constitution!” he stated.

He said what had happened in Parliament could be interpreted as meaning that a no confidence motion could only be brought by the Opposition, “if the other side is allowing you to do so.”

Not pleased at the way the law was applied, Friday stated, “I tell Ralph Gonsalves (the Prime Minister) in the Parliament today, if he had a constitutional law exam he would get..an F”.

Friday said that in the past and all around the Caribbean, it has always been the practice that once a motion is brought, that it would be debated, and consequently the Constitution had been violated.

“When they violate our constitution, you violate our rights, and I tell you, we will make sure that this right is protected for people in this country, and we will defend it in a court of law,” he concluded.

The suggestion was met with an applause of agreement from the yellow clad crowd filling the square. (KR)

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