The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is not at all happy with the manner in which issues are being dealt with at the level of the National Assembly and has accused the Speaker Dr Barton Scotland of not doing his job as prescribed by law.
Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira at a press conference on Wednesday recalled the last sitting of the House during which the Income Tax Amendment Act was passed with an equal amount of votes for an against the legislation.
According to Teixeira, the law specifically prescribes that Bills can only be passed in the House with a majority and this was not the case with the Tax Act.
“Nothing can be passed in that House without the majority of the elected members and all those physically present and voting,” she said noting that Education Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine was absent when the Bill was called up for voting.
Dr Roopnaraine was ill at the time and was reportedly in the parliamentary lounge at the time.
“I don’t know where Dr Roopnaraine was and that is not my problem…it’s not my issue…a Bill cannot pass with equal votes,” the MP emphasized.
She went on chide the Speaker for what she described as ill treatment of Opposition MPs during sittings of the House.
Teixeira said it is “disrespectful and belittling the way he speaks to our MPS and especially the Leader of the Opposition…the cavalier treatment of an opposition…is one that is unacceptable.’
She however maintained that the PPP will continue to voice its concerns about issues in the House and hopefully things will take a different turn in the near future.
Asked whether the Party has any confidence in Dr Scotland’s ability to function as the Speaker of the House in an effective manner, Teixeira declined to give a definite answer.
Later she would say that the PPP would not be moving a no confidence motion against the Speaker because the Party, would lose given its minority status in the House.
“At this point I don’t think that it is something we will do…we will lose it…I don’t think we have reached that point…we have not reached that point yet,” she said.
The Chief Whip said that there is still an opportunity for the Speaker to redeem himself in the eyes of the PPP. “There is still an opportunity for the Speaker…to uphold parliamentary democracy,” she said.
In the past, the Party’s concerns with the Speaker has been ventilated on social media with one MP, Nigel Dharamlall going as far as saying Dr Scotland will go down as the “most disgusting Speaker” in the last 50 years. (Jomo Brusheildon Paul)