Posted on

Opposition absent for debate on Supplementary Appropriation Bills

Opposition absent for debate on Supplementary Appropriation Bills


When Parliament met last Wednesday to debate three supplementary appropriation bills, all the chairs on the Opposition side of the House were empty.{{more}}

As he presented Supplementary Appropriation Bills numbers one, two and three, and other bills to the House, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that he was uncertain as to where the nine members of the New Democratic Party were.

“None of them is here now; I don’t know why they are not here. I don’t know if it’s because of these things the Opposition is not here today,” Gonsalves said, as he outlined the details of the bills.

Contributing to the discussion, Minister of Transport and Works Senator Julian Francis also acknowledged the absence of the Opposition members.

“The Opposition were present for the finance committee meetings on these three bills, but they found it not convenient today to debate, but the one supplementary estimate which specifically dealt with the Argyle international airport, they did not attend the finance committee meeting, because they didn’t want to hear the explanation on it, but they came to Parliament to debate, to say ‘no’ to the estimates, and they are going to say ‘no’ to the Argyle international airport,” the Senator said.

“Silence is consent, so we take it that we have total approval from them; they don’t have to waste their time and come in because this is ordinary finance matters,” Francis noted.

The Senator was the member of the House who had the floor on June 7, when the Opposition members walked out of the House, following an objection made by the representative for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings.

Cummings challenged statements made by Francis, and when the Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander refused to rule in Cummings’ favour, the Opposition, led by Leader Arnhim Eustace left the premises.

Wednesday’s Supplementary Appropriation Bills totalled $41,592,287, with $28,000,000 going to recurrent expenditure, and $13,608,198 to capital expenditure.

Some of the money appropriated includes $381,387 for the government printery, relocation of Ministry of Finance to BOSVG building ($250,000), installation of solar panels on the financial complex ($106,800), funding for the Arrowroot Association and livestock ($425,280), and the Kingstown Town Board ($250,000).(JJ)