Premier Alden McClaughlin ripped into member of the Official Opposition on Tuesday calling them “childish” for walking out a meeting off the Legislative Assembly.
The meeting was discussing a package of legislation for the financial sector especially dealing with international regulatory and compliance issues especially regarding the virtual assets blockchain technology sector.
The opposition claim they were denied the right to have a number of matters they wanted to address brought to the floor of the Assembly.
They also claimed that aspects of the rules governing the functioning of the Legislative Assembly where not being adhered to thereby impeding their right to be informed in a timely manner so as to prepare for the sitting.
But in countering the claims made by the opposition, Premier McClaughlin gave a scathing rejection of their claims.
In He accused them of misplaced priorities and a misunderstanding of parliamentary and failing to grasp parliamentary and legislative procedures.
“This country remains in the midst of a national public health emergency, and arising from that we are also in an economic emergency,” he stated.
“One of the two pillars of the economy, tourism, has collapsed and therefore the importance of financial services is even more important than it was ever before in hour history.
Against that background, Mr McClaughlin questioned in very strong terms: “On a day like this, in a time like this and in a situation like this, paid members of this Legislative Assembly, including the Leader of the Opposition packed up his papers and walked out before one word is said in relation to these critically important pieces of legislation.”
Wondering if the opposition members had “gone fishing” he charged, “they are paid to be here to do the people’s business,” adding that, “it is really ironic that the leader of the opposition complained bitterly about the lack of notice in his view of this meeting in his view, a having impeded his colleagues ability and to do the people’s peoples business.
Continuing on the fishing analogy, he asked rhetorically: “How are they doing the country’s business out fishing or doing whatever they are doing this afternoon?”
The Premier challenged the assertions by the Leader of the Opposition on elements of the Standing Orders concerning the calling of meetings and submission of questions.
“The leader of the Oppositions submissions about breaches of the Standing Orders was quite frankly rubbish, utter nonsense, drivel,” he countered.
While conceding to Opposition leader Arden McClean on the point of timely notification, the Premier however said: “Even though the circumstances today are less than ideal from an opposition point, the intemperate remarks from the Leader of the Opposition and the childish withdrawal of the opposition from the chamber and from the business of the house at a time like this when what for the house are critical pieces of legislation to help bolster the financial services industry on which we are now more reliant than ever, cannot be possibly be justified or warranted.
In a coup de grace comment, Premier McLaughlin who is in his final term constitutionally and heads the PPM (People’s Progressive Movement)-led government had this parting shot:
“That sort of irresponsible behaviour is why the leader of the opposition and his team belong now and forever on this side of the house. They are not capable of appreciating the significance of what we are doing and the importance of not trying to build a political platform on the back of a national crisis such as we are in.
“They are casting about trying to find something that may gain some traction while the government - the public service and private sector - are working hard to help pull this country through this crisis, the length of which no one can estimate.”
Accusing the opposition of “mixed up priorities”, Mr McLaughlin is full political counter attack accused the opposition of “scrambling about trying to get an election date fixed.”
“Do you think the people are focused on when the election date is?” he asked, offering the answer that “they are worrying about keeping themselves well and where the next paycheck will come from.”