December 3, 2004
House ends prematurely

The political shadow boxing continued last Wednesday afternoon in another dramatic scene, a walk out of the sitting of the House of Assembly. Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace, Grenadines representatives Dr. Godwin Friday and Terrance Ollivierre and Senators Gerard Shallow and St. Claire Leacock walked out the House in protest against Transport, Works, and Housing Minister Julian Francis. {{more}}

The opposition has been calling for Francis’ resignation, ostensibly for his perceived role in awarding a sub-contract to do a portion of the proposed cross country road to Franco Construction, a firm owned by his brothers.

The campaign to oust Francis was intense during the previous sitting of the House on November 16 when the opposition parliamentarians joined supporters in street protests outside the Parliament.

Sections of the New Democratic Party followers thronged Francis as he made his way to a restaurant during the break.

But the sitting had been flowing smoothly at the House Wednesday as the opposition had returned in full numbers after boycotting two previous sittings. In fact the morning session had progressed in regular parliamentary fashion with members jostling for airtime as the proceedings were carried live on radio and Channel 45 television.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves presented a record estimate of $587,095,299.

Congratulations and obituaries were kept to a minimum and perhaps an advanced point to note was that none of the opposition’s 24 questions had been directed to the Transport, Works and Housing Minister.

The opposition kept up its barrage on the cross country road issue, but the concern was directed towards Health and Environment Minister Dr. Douglas Slater.

The Opposition Leader expressed his disapproval of the 37 million dollar deficit mentioned by the Prime Minister and set the tone for the later opposition action. The opposition members filed out of the House when Francis rose to make his contribution. The session subsequently folded.