– after Gov’t insists that PM Nagamootoo speak after Opposition Leader Jagdeo
At the conclusion of his Budget debate presentation this afternoon, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo declared that members of his Party will not remain in their benches to listen to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo or Finance Minister Winston Jordan who are the last two speakers to end this year’s budget debate presentations.
The Opposition PPP/C Members of Parliament then proceeded to walk out of the National Assembly, but not before Speaker of the House Dr Barton Scotland pointed out that he had not yet addressed the National Assembly and thereby requested the Opposition to remain.
Upon the Speaker pronouncing that the Prime Minister was next in line to speak and urged that he begin his presentation, the Opposition MPs walked out of the House.
As a result of this and the time factor, Government Chief Whip Amna Ally then requested that the House move to the break period and that the last two government speakers would proceed on their presentations at the resumption of the break.
The Speaker agreed, but the APNU/AFC Government faced empty Opposition benches when they returned to speak.
Dr Jagdeo remains adamant that until the Government side agrees to tradition – whereby the norm is for the Opposition Leader to be the second-to-last speaker in the Budget debates, and not the Prime Minister – then the PPP/C will not stay and listen to the Prime Minister or the concluding speaker in the debate. Finance Minister Winston Jordan is slated to be the last speaker, after Nagamootoo.
The walkout by the PPP/C members, for the second year running, has no doubt stunned the Government side and especially irked the Prime Minister.
At the time of posting this INews report, Mr. Nagamootoo was making his presentation in the House, during which he criticized the Opposition MPs for being ‘political cowards’.