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.”