Opposition not happy about early end to debate
Daniel Cummings
January 12, 2024
Opposition not happy about early end to debate

Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings is of the notion that Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves is afraid of the disclosure that the New Democratic Party has in response to the “crap that is presented for a budget.”

He expressed this view at a live news conference hosted by the NDP on January 10, after wrap of debate on the 2024 Budget to which only two members on the Opposition benches contributed.

“My understanding of Parliamentary practice is that the Speaker calls for further debates. If there is no further debate, the Speaker then asks…the Minister of Finance to wind up the debate. I do not know whence the Prime Minister has the power to direct that the debate should be wound up,” Cumming said , adding that the Prime Minister did not afford members on either side to speak because he stood up and got the Speaker’s attention.

“The speaker called for further debate and when a member stands up when the Speaker calls for further debate, it is naturally expected that that member rises to speak, and he indeed said he regretted having to speak now but then he immediately said he is not speaking…”.

“That is the procedure,” Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday commented added.

“This is where the breakdown squarely lies in the lap of a prime minister who is tired, very tired and is afraid of the disclosures that we have, and the weaknesses, or the inaccuracies, or the crap, literally that is presented for a budget, Cummings claimed.

The Opposition leader further said that when the budget was presented as the “the way forward,” two persons tapped in response, the Prime Minister and one other person.

“It shows that there seem to be lacking completely any enthusiasm and any heart for what is going on. This government has run out…of ideas, it has run out of energy. It’s just taking the people for granted. I don’t know if the prime minister had a plane to catch or something…the business of the people doesn’t seem to be that important.”

Debate on the 2024 budget ended early, on Tuesday, when no one seemed willing to rise to debate when the Speaker asked whether there was any further debate. The Prime Minister then requested the Speaker to have the debate wound up and the finance minister rose and did so.

Friday said that this matter tells him that St Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a government, and the one that the country has is on “auto-pilot” and has “ completely overstayed their time.”