Opposition waits

BLP MPs look forward to much anticipated report on House Speaker

Even as they anxiously await a report from Parliament’s Committee of Privileges they had anticipated would have been laid today, Opposition MPs stayed away from debate in the House of Assembly for the third consecutive session.

And they also made sure to stay away from the lunch table, following criticism from Government MPs over the weekend that they were still turning up for the catered lunch even though they refused to participate in debate while Speaker of the House Michael Carrington presides over sittings.

The Opposition members are adamant that until the Committee of Privileges reports on the matter involving Carrington – an attorney who up until a week ago had failed to hand over funds to a former client – they would remain absent.

When they arrived at the Parliament buildings today, they headed directly to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition where they were “in meetings all morning”, party leader Mia Mottley said after the morning sitting ended.

Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley

“All of the members are here . . . The issue is not the Opposition’s absence, the issue is Michael Carrington’s behaviour as Speaker of the House, both in relation to failing to recuse himself while this matter is brought to a closure by a committee of Parliament . . . and his behaviour that caused the whole incident to happen in the beginning. Repayment of the money does not wipe out three years of failing to pay the money,” she said, insisting that Carrington’s former client John Griffiths only got the funds because the matter had been reported in the media.

“I am told that the Committee of Privileges will report soon and when it does we will then deal with it, but I’m not going to say anything more on that at this stage.”

In the meantime, some Opposition MPs have been ensuring they are marked in Parliament’s register.

One of them, St James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds, created a bit of a buzz on the Government benches when he walked in around 10:30 a.m.

As other Government MPs made their side comments, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman, who had been introducing a land resolution, remarked “Morning, Sir. Nice to see you, Sir” before continuing his presentation.

After speaking with the Deputy Clerk of Parliament Nigel Jones for a few seconds, Symmonds left.

Speaking outside her office during the lunch break, the Opposition Leader noted that St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde had done a similar thing last week and she had no problem with that.

“Some MPs have gone in; they go in for prayers and come back out. The issue is not going in . . . the issue is sitting and debating with Mr Carrington in the chair as Speaker,” Mottley insisted.

The Opposition MPs also took offence to St James South representative Donville Inniss and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart criticizing them for being absent for debate, but being present for food.

Today, the first session of Parliament since the comments were made over the weekend, they left the compound to have lunch.

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