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Symmonds: Too much talk

Much ado about nothing.

That summed up the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s immediate response to Government’s decision to debate the Police Complaints Authority (Validation) Bill this morning in the House of Assembly.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite spent nearly an hour speaking on law and order issues as he introduced the legislation, which once approved would “provide for the validation of the membership, acts done, and decisions made by the Police Complaints Authority from October 6, 2011” until now.

But in a response that lasted just over a minute, St. James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds said the Opposition had no issue with the matter he called “innocuous” and “trifling”, wondering why Brathwaite had spent so much time speaking about it.

“It is a highly innocuous bill. One is very surprised that the Attorney General found it necessary to delay the Chamber for such an exceptionally long period of time, taking us as far away as Mexico and Columbia and the international drug cartels on a matter which is as almost trifling as this,” the BLP representative said.

“There is no issue taken, it is not I think, Sir, an opportunity for a really substantive debate on law and order in Barbados. And if that is where the Attorney General had wanted to go then I would have thought, Sir, that we would be speaking in a substantive way of Government’s policy with respect to matters touching on legal affairs and law and order.

“I don’t wish to repeat that which he has said or to do the same mischief that he has done by delaying the House unnecessarily so I will simply say, Sir, that the Opposition takes no issue with this matter,” he told the Lower House.

Symmonds who is Shadow Minister of Industry, Commerce and International Business, and is also responsible for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade matters in the House of Assembly, was the only Opposition member speaking on the issue before the Chamber adjourned for lunch.

This was in contrast to speeches from Brathwaite, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Health John Boyce, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman, and Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones. (SC)

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