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Opposition Leader defends boycott

Government 07 Oct, 2022 Follow News

Opposition Leader defends boycott

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Roy McTaggart

The PPM boycotted Parliament on Friday 7 October, in protest of Speaker McKeeva Bush’s continued presence in Parliament, despite his resignation.

Defending the boycott Opposition Leader Roy McTaggart said, “Over the past week the entire country has witnessed firsthand what can be considered a government that has become increasingly desperate and heavy handed and willing to ignore proper procedures and rules. As the Opposition, we are concerned that the speaker has resigned and is expecting to continue to chair, and is being enabled to do so by the government. Regardless of any purportedly effective date, the fact is that Mr. Bush has resigned as Speaker, and must demit the chair immediately, and the deputy speaker sit as presiding officer, as required by Section 41D of Standing Orders.” The Opposition would continue to boycott Parliament until the Speaker left, Mr. McTaggart said.

“I would also add that, not only have they (the PACT government) banded together to prevent a lack of confidence in the Speaker from being debated, but they have done so on a false premise. This refusal of a valid motion is inexcusable. It’s a violation of all democratic principles of parliament, and it is a stifling of the voice of the Opposition.

“I regret to say that under this government we are rapidly becoming a Kangaroo parliament. We would be abdicating our duty to the country to participate in the sham that today’s meeting of Parliament has become. So as an Opposition, we have collectively decided that we will not participate in Parliament with Speaker Bush as the presiding officer. There’s no reason for him to stay on until November 30.th the Constitution and the Standing Orders speak adequately to that. We have a Deputy Speaker and she should be taking that chair.”

There was also an issue regarding the handling of the Opposition’s vote of no confidence: “Yesterday when we went into the business committee meeting the Government used their superiority of numbers to replace our motion of no confidence. We were scheduled to be the first item of business on the agenda on Wednesday when we were supposed to commence parliament and they took it and they replaced it with their own motion of confidence. When you look at the difference between a motion of confidence and one of no confidence, there are very little consequences in a motion of confidence in a government. They are singing their own praises. But our motion had real substance,” Mr. McTaggart said.

Former PPM Leader Sir Alden McLaughlin said: “I think the whole country knows there has been great dissention and division and lack of cohesion in policies ever since the Government took office. But this is the third serious challenge that Premier Panton has had in keeping his government together.

“Some of his members including some of his ministers have made no secret of their lack of support for him as the leader and a number of them have been speaking to various members of our team about putting together another government…a number of them and certainly enough of them to form another government have been speaking with us on numerous occasions.

“The fundamental point here, and the reason why we will not attend Parliament, is to do with the refusal of the government through a completely inexperienced deputy speaker, preventing a legitimate lack of confidence motion in the Speaker from being brought to the House for debate. Coupled with that, Mr. Bush is in the Chair as if nothing has occurred, despite the fact that he has issued a statement again, saying that he intends to resign with effect from the 30th of November. I have been reliably informed that in fact, initially the government had agreed to keep him on until the 31st of January. We shall all wait and see whether he leaves at all.”

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