House Speaker explains abrupt end to budget debate

House Speaker explains abrupt end to budget debate

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Leonne Theodore-John has sought to explain the situation Tuesday which led to an abrupt end to the budget debate and the Opposition storming out of the House.

Members of Parliament had gathered for the second sitting of the debate on the Appropriations Bill.

But the debate ended prematurely after Prime Minister Chastanet called for an end to the proceedings following a presentation by Laborie MP, Alva Baptiste.

At least seven other Members of Parliament had yet to make their contributions to the budget.

The St Lucia Labour Party says the Prime Minister disregarded convention relating to the order in which Parliamentarians make contributions to the House and showed contempt for Parliament and the St Lucian people.

When asked to explain what transpired in the House, Speaker Theodore-John stated the following:

“It appears that members are looking out as to turns of speaking and so we came to a time when it is whoever’s mic (microphone) the speaker catches. At that time, after the Honourable member for Laborie had made his presentation, no one seemed to be putting on their mic.”

“When that happens, if the mover of the motion, which is the Prime Minister who presented the bill, decides to put on his mic after no one is putting on their mic to speak, he then stands to do his rebuttal which happened, in so bringing the debate on the appropriations bill 2017/2018 at an end.”

“So once the mover of the motion or the bill has rebutted, no one else can speak and that is what happened,” Theodore-John added.

The Labour Party has accused the Prime Minister of trying to prevent robust debate on the budget.

The Speaker was asked whether the Prime Minister prevented other MP’s from making their contribution.

“This is not what happened,” she said.“Because after a member has spoken, the next thing that happens is a member puts on his mic. I look around to see that a member puts on his or her mic to speak and that was not happening. We had a lul of perhaps two minutes or so. I’m not sure I was not timing it but I looked to see whose mic came on and I called on whoever’s mic was put on. And that is after a lul. That was after a moment of silence and nothing happening.”

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20 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm Reply

    Wheel and come again Madame Speaker! Not making no sense.
    So you mean none of the parliamentarians on the government side had anything to add to the debate? That sounds like this was well planned by the PM and his cabinet of Ministers. The PM said in an interview that “his ministers had nothing to say because they have been working” what does that mean? Are they not representing people who voted for them? Did they not have to report on their work in their various ministries and according to the budget being tabled? Wheel and come again Madame Speaker!!!

  2. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm Reply

    That’s 2 minute story is an absolute untruth. Okay I’ll be nice, an exaggeration! It was about 30 seconds. And why didn’t you ask the question as you normally do when that arises? Were you aware that the other ministers of Government had no intention to speak? Does that seem normal to you that 4 senior ministers, one even being a former prime minister, would not want to speak?

  3. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm Reply

    That is an absolute untruth. OK, let’s say she was exaggerating much! The pause was closer to 30 seconds! And further more as Speaker its your business to arrange for some sense of order… i.e. what’s the reasonable order of speakers. At the beginning of the House meeting yesterday, there were 4 Opposition and 4 Government speakers left, plus the PM to wrap up as he moved the bill. Shouldn’t you have gotten some agreement on how that would have proceeded? The Opposition went first so one would have thought it would have alternated, no? The PM would still have gotten his final speaker and then he would speak last regardless. And why didn’t the Speaker pose the question if she saw there was a pause? Does this mean there’s nothing important to be said from the ministries of these senior ministers?

  4. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 3:12 pm Reply

    So why did the Minister for Finance not close the debate 40 days ago, when the same thing happened, with no one, either from his side, or from the Opposition side, seeming to wish to speak? And now, 40 days later, he returns to the House, realises that one Opposition Member wishes to speak, let’s that Member speak, and closes the debate, without getting his other Ministers who had not yet spoken, to make their contributions. Since this was a POLICY debate on the Budget, and since the Minister for Finance is also the leader of Government Business, and since the law requires that Ministers, as policy makers, tell the House and, by extension, the public what policies will guide their expenditure of whatever portion of the Budget that was allocated to them, shouldn’t Mr. Chastanet not have directed his Ministers to comply with the law and to give an account of their stewardship? Why should ALL of the Opposition Members speak first and then all of the Government side respond to them, as if it is the Opposition that is driving Government policy ? It seems to me that it should be the other way round !

  5. sharon terrell
    June 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm Reply

    I don’t believe nada,zilch,when the SLP ministers bark,not even when i see it,they are a bunch of buffoons,this is the men and women who want so badly to represent me,not even my dog.But they can exclusively exclude their self from dealing and facing reality.Then they want to represent me the runaway boys.Its the same gang all the time,Roro,Melee,lies,caious name it these buffoons at it.Now the speaker of the house is a liar,every living in St.Lucia are liars except the clan SLP.Men at work to destroy and conquer.As i will keep saying the only thing I have forthis party is the morgue serious.Power just to control the monies no interst in compromising,name calling,walk-outs and you’ll want my vote.And i hate the color red,red is danger,blood,war,and yes am suspicious,Gwen all the time. (Word deleted)

    1. Anonymous
      June 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply

      Spoken like a true Party Hack!!!!! So saaaaad!!!!

  6. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Three “small” technical points, Madam Speaker.
    1. The mover of the Bill was NOT the Prime Minister. The mover of the Bill was the Minister for Finance.
    2. When a Member wishes to speak, he or she must “catch the eye of the Speaker”, according to the Standing Orders. We technology now, so people put on their microphones, but they must still catch your eye.
    3. When the Minister for Finance rises to reply as a sign of bringing closure to the debate, you are to ensure that his reply wraps tightly around the contributions of all Members who contributed to the debate, insofar as the economic state of the island is concerned, and the general principles of policy as indicated by the Appropriation Bill .

    Please reflect on these little technicalities in order to ensure that you are on top of your game.

  7. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm Reply

    U lie . Come next four years ur is grass. Enjoy it cause uwp en go win again. That’s the worst government I have seen. Please we need a revolution in this country.(Word deleted)

  8. Mee Lee
    June 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm Reply

    Theodore is a disgrace and should be ashamed of even sitting on this chair. Fess – Sal!

  9. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm Reply

    Well by the look of it,they already had they plans it was the government side yo talk why didn’t they

  10. Me
    June 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm Reply

    As far as I’m concerned debating the budget is pointless. Has the budget ever been amended? Waste of time.

    1. Anonymous
      June 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm Reply

      You don’t amend it on the floor of the House. If you want to amend it, you must do so when it is being reviewed by the Standing Finance Committee, long before it gets to the House for Debate. The only thing that can happen AFTER it has been passed in the House is that if, as time goes by, there is need for an adjustment, then the Minister for Finance must go back to the House with a Supplementary Budget. OK? .

    2. Anonymous
      June 21, 2017 at 7:47 pm Reply

      Same thinking here

  11. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm Reply

    St Lucia was once a democracy. That lasted up to the last elections. Now it is an auto-cratic dictatorship. God’s gift to the country run tings. Here comes trouble and worries!

  12. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 6:40 pm Reply

    the action of the PM was well planned .. if you look carefully at the speaker during the madness ..she was waiting for it ..job well plan then again speaker and government same people . very good plan to deprive us the people ..

  13. Bambi
    June 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm Reply

    Aa after waiting 40days that’s what I got. Mr P.M where u afraid that the opposition what dismantle your c.ip and dsh projects. Smart move though.

  14. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm Reply

    The Prime minister is heading for a fall. He has forgotten the people and this action hurt the SLP less than it would to the people.
    Critically, the min of sports, min for equity and min for agriculture were not heard.
    Mr Dumb PM what are the policies of these three important Ministries for this fiscal year?

  15. Anonymous
    June 21, 2017 at 10:13 pm Reply

    Bunch of jokers! Both sides, including the Speaker of House.

  16. Anthony gajadhar
    June 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm Reply

    St.Lucia has become the “Laughing Stock” of the world, because of what has happened in parliament yesterday, people reading thin story will feel that we have no organizational skills, not even the house of parliament that have been in existence for over 35 years we cannot organize its proceedings , even our budget we cannot prepare ourselves, even though we have produced two Laureates .
    Anthony Gajadhar

  17. Anonymous
    June 25, 2017 at 9:38 am Reply

    Anonymous: My people stop the fussing and fighting among yourselves and unit to make our country the loving place it used to be,Stop bringing down the country with you’ll dirty ways of thinking,Learn to love one another

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