PM Gonsalves criticizes House of Assembly staff for minutes delay
December 7, 2012

PM Gonsalves criticizes House of Assembly staff for minutes delay

Shoddy work on the part of the staff at the House of Assembly caused the laying of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in Parliament to be delayed for close to an hour, on Tuesday.{{more}}

The sitting was delayed because the minutes from the finance committee meeting held on November 29 were not presented to members of the House, as is stipulated in the rules.

“Under the rules of the House, the minutes of the finance committee meeting must first be presented before we proceed with the debate, because the members do not know if any amendments were made,” Prime Minister and Leader of the House Dr Ralph Gonsalves said. “So, this Honourable House would have to be suspended for another day,” the prime minister said.

In pointing this out to Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander, the prime minister said that he had not been given any indication of how soon the minutes would be ready.

“The business of the House cannot be treated in this manner, Mr Speaker,” Gonsalves said.

“Mr Speaker, this was done on Thursday; today is Tuesday, the minutes are not very lengthy,” the prime minister continued.

This prompted Alexander to suspend the House and allow time for the minutes to be made available.

But when the House resumed, Gonsalves reported that the minutes were inadequate, because none of the recommended corrections had been made.

He also drew attention to another error that was contained in the document. The names of the Director General of Finance and Planning, Maurice Edwards and Budget Director Edmund Jackson were mentioned in the document.

“Mr Edwards and Mr Jackson are not members of the select committee – you can’t refer to them saying anything,” the prime minister said.

“They would have drawn those [matters] to the attention of the chairman and the chairman would have formerly drawn it to the attention of the committee,” he said. (DD)