Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has taken opposition leader Allen Chastanet to task in the continuing controversy over speaking arrangements in the parliament.
Chastanet has accused the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), which enjoys a 13-4 majority in the house, of seeking to silence him during the debate on estimates of expenditure and the appropriation bill by denying him the opportunity to speak.
However, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre told reporters that no one stopped Chastanet.
But he said the United Workers Party (UWP) leader must understand that procedures are in place.
“You cannot dictate to the majority,” Pierre asserted.
Asked about the other MPs who did not speak, the Castries East MP declared that was the exercise of their free will.
“The leader of the opposition was asked on several occasions. Have you ever seen in the parliamentary life of this country an opposition leader being begged to speak? He was begged – the leader of government business begged him, ‘Please speak!'” Pierre told reporters.
But he said Chastanet must understand that he is no longer the Prime Minister.
“I am not the one who caused that to happen, you know. The people did it. If you are in a democracy, you must respect the will of the people,” the Prime Minister stated.