A bill to address non-performance and absenteeism by Members of Parliament here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, could be in the making.
In his remarks, Friday, at the presentation of the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the House of Assembly, Leader of the House – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he is hoping for a bill to address the issue of members of the house not working, but are drawing monies for work.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said that such a bill could come before the house for consideration as early as February 22nd; the next date the house is scheduled to meet.
“Though it’s not on the Order Parer, I can give advance notice that we can amend the order paper to include a bill relating to certain matters of that kind” – Gonsalves said.
Opposition Members of Parliament decided to boycott Friday’s presentation of the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has referred to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves as an ‘illegal’ Prime Minister. Opposition supporters have been protesting the results of the December 9, 2015 General Election, since the results showed a victory for the Unity Labour Party with 8 seats to 7 and more than 52 percent of the popular vote.
The opposition is boycotting Parliament in continued protest action for what they say are stolen elections.
“You could come on the road, be with us for a while… but you have to come into council and talk what you have to talk… but they don’t want to come to council; come to parliament” – Gonsalves said – referring to the Opposition.
“So I’ve spoken to the young, I’ve spoken to the elderly and those in between would get the same message.. the public is expecting that we would do something about persons who don’t come to Parliament and want to draw money” – the Prime Minister added.
In walking through the idea briefly, Prime Minister Gonsalves said – “whether it’s a deduction from your salary, or a penalty in monetary terms for not coming, whatever it is, we will do it because we have been looking at other laws in other countries where you have such similar provisions”.
The Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) members are known to boycott / walk out of parliamentary sessions on a frequent basis, since the party lost General Elections in 2001.
“I hope we won’t have to do it Mr. Speaker… I hope… but you say you are challenging the results in two constituencies, you have put in election petitions, well wait until the election petitions are decided”.
Prime Minister Gonsalves also opined that opposition supporters across seven constituencies were left without a voice on the 2016 Estimates.
Written from source news First Published ON WEFM St Vincent