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Speaker rules Eustace’s review request out of place

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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace got a tongue lashing from the Speaker of the House of Assembly at last Thursday’s sitting of Parliament.{{more}}

While Eustace led his colleagues on yet another boycott of Parliament, Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander blasted Eustace over a letter sent by Eustace to him last December, when the Opposition yet again refused to attend Parliament in protest.

Their protest stemmed from a ruling delivered by Deputy Speaker Senator Rochelle Forde during the budget debate on Thursday, 13th December, 2007.

During Senator Daniel Cummings’s presentation to the budget debate, Senator Forde ruled against him, after Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves raised an objection to his line of presentation.

Eustace contended in his letter that Forde was wrong to rule against Cummings, and called for a full review, “the necessary corrections for the record”, and an apology to Senator Cummings.

“Therefore as a mark of protest, the Opposition will take no further part in the debate on this budget,” the letter stated.

“I found it rather disgusting that he will write me on such an issue,” Alexander said during last Thursday’s sitting.

The Speaker said that Eustace has demonstrated that he doesn’t know the rules of the House, because his request for a review of the Deputy Speaker’s ruling was out of place.

“The Speaker has all authority…their decision on any point of order shall not be open to appeal, and shall not be reviewed by the House except on a substantial motion made after notice,” Alexander explained.

Alexander further commented on Eustace’s claim in the letter that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has increasingly interrupted the presentation of opposition members with “many tedious and sometimes rather frivolous interruptions on points of order and requests to give way,” suggesting that the Prime Minister’s actions were within the confines of the rules of the House.

“From time to time we hear that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker make rulings in the House that is against the Opposition, when the truth of the fact is that the Opposition has demonstrated that they do not know the rules of the House,” Alexander said. (KJ)

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