Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 21, 2015 (SKNIS)—While Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris wrapped up the 2016 Budget debate in the National Assembly on the fifth day (December 21), members of the opposition were visibly absent.
The Member of Parliament for St. Christopher 2, the Honourable Marcella Liburd, did not return to the Parliament on the last day to give her presentation on the Budget after she objected to a motion for an adjournment for an hour’s lunch.
During the entire budget debate, which started on December 15, the opposition members, namely, The Honourable Marcella Liburd, the Honourable Konris Maynard, Opposition Senator Nigel Carty and Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas, were often irregular and absent from the hallowed chambers of the Parliament.
The Honourable Konris Maynard returned to the Parliament, from where he had been absent during the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd’s presentation on the budget, in order to respond to him. He was refused to do so by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Michael Perkins, who said it was not in keeping with the rules of the National Assembly.
A civil servant, Joycelyn Thomas who is Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, in a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honourable Franklyn Brand, said that she was shocked to hear Opposition Senator Nigel Carty call her name in Parliament in what she described as an attempt to draw her into his “petty, partisan politics.” Miss Thomas asked for Senator Carty (who was absent at the time) to withdraw his statement and the Deputy Speaker honoured the request of Miss Thomas. Mr. Carty has not returned to the Parliament since December 17 when the letter was read.
In wrapping up the debate, Prime Minister Harris referred to the unparliamentary behaviour of the opposition members saying that they didn’t bring any valuable contribution to the 2016 Budget but rather their presence was only a distraction seen in their disrespect of the Speaker and the rules for the National Assembly.