Friday, 10 June 2016 15:03

Opposition MPs walk out Parliament

Written by C News
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The Opposition walked out of Parliament on Friday afternoon.

This, after House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George denied Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar's requests to adjourn the normal business of the House in order to discuss the timely access to the Children's Life Fund and the increase in murders as matters of urgent public importance.

She said financially disadvantaged children who are in need of life-saving surgeries have not had access to the Fund.

"The matter is urgent because several children who were in need of life-saving medical treatment have already died because of Government's failure to provide timely assistance from the Fund and the lives of other children similarly circumstanced are in dire jeopardy. It is urgent because on a daily basis the financial burden on the less fortunate family in our society increases and with that, the number of children who are unable to access urgent life-saving treatment due to lack of financial resources also increases."

The House Speaker said the matter did not qualify under Standing Order 17 and advised that she pursue both under Standing Order 16.

The Opposition Leader then sought leave to adjourn the House to discuss the "unprecedented increase in the number of murders" as a matter of urgent importance.

She told the Parliament that as of Friday, the murder figure stood at 208 and with each day passing day, more citizens are lost to violence.

"The matter is of public importance because increasing number of murders is engendering widespread fear and distress in our country and is also damaging the international reputation of Trinidad and Tobago."

The House Speaker once again said the matter did not qualify under Standing Order 17 and advised that she pursue both under Standing Order 16.

"As far as the two matters raised, arguably they are of public importance but the criteria of Definite, Urgent and Public Importance must be satisfied in accordance with the particular Standing Order, Standing Order 17, and the Standing Orders have to be viewed as a whole. Matters can be raised on Notice, matters can be raised as Urgent Matters and therefore the suspension of the ordinary business of the House must only be suspended by using a very high bar to justify setting aside the usual scheduled business under Standing Order 17."

The House Speaker said the Opposition should meet with the Presiding Officer on Monday afternoon to clarify the Standing Orders.

This then prompted the Opposition MPs to pack up and leave the Parliament.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar later spoke to the media even while the sitting continued without them in the Lower House.

"I can say that we are very disappointed because we are of a different view. We believe that the lives of children being denied access to the Children's Life Fund resulting in the loss of life."

She added that the Children's Life Fund in particular is very important to discuss, especially since two children died recently.

"It was like tears in my eyes when I saw a parent appealing on behalf of other children that access be granted and why? These parents had since January they were told that the Ministry of Health had sent to the Attorney General's Ministry for the interpretation of the words 'exceptional circumstances.' January, this child died two weeks ago."

In March 2015, the PNM MPs led by Colm Imbert stormed out of the Parliament during the Motion of No Confidence in then Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley.

However, the Finance Minister stayed away from the issue and kept his distance from reporters on Friday.



Read 650 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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