Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Opposition fails to show up for budget debate

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By Zaya Williams

None of the eight Members of Parliament who sit on the opposition side were present in the House today for the budget debate.

The MPs for the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party therefore began the debate amongst themselves.

The scheduling of the debate became a point of contention last Friday, as both sides deliberated on the suitable day to commence discussions on the budget presented the same day.

ABLP Ministers aimed for a Monday start, while the opposition insisted on a later date, asserting they needed ample time to review the budget before participating. They said they would not show up any time before Thursday.

After a vote, Tuesday was agreed upon as the preferred date.

However, this morning, the opposition benches remained unoccupied. Undeterred, the budget debate proceeded, with four Ministers presenting so far- Minister of Housing, Works, Lands and Urban Renewal Maria Browne, Minister of Education, Creative Industries and Sports Daryll Matthew, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Transportation, and Investment Charles Fernandez and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Trade and Barbuda Affairs Chet Greene.

The final speaker, MP for St. Paul Chet Greene, emphasized that the opposition’s absence indicated a realization of their earlier misjudgements.

“They now realize that they were wrong; that all of the pontifications and pronouncements they made fell flat when the Prime Minister presented the actual budget, the national statement last Friday,” said Greene. He highlighted the unsuccessful pre-emptive actions, including calls for protests outside Parliament, intended to gauge public support for the opposition’s position.

Greene further asserted that the Prime Minister’s budget statement effectively countered the opposition’s claims of government failure, stating, that the PM’s budget statement “nailed the lies.”



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