by Linda Straker
- Finance Committee approved draft on Monday, 13 November
- Opposition decision not to attend meeting was objecting to continued disrespect meted out to them
- Action of Opposition described as reckless and absconding
Finance Minister Dennis Cornwall has announced that he will be presenting the 2024 Annual Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure on 4 December 2023. Members of the Finance Committee approved the draft on Monday, 13 November 2023.
The Finance Committee are all elected members in the Lower House of Parliament. However, Opposition members boycotted the meeting, saying that Government suddenly changed the pre-arranged date of 17 November and, despite efforts to seek another date that would work in the best interest of all members, Government held the meeting on 13 November.
According to the Standing Orders, a quorum for the Finance Committee which is chaired by the Minister responsible for Finance, is 5. The rules state that a meeting can be called in 48 hours.
In a news conference on 14 November, Opposition members said that their decision to not attend the meetings was their way of objecting to the continued disrespect meted out to them in the House.
“They sent the agenda but the complete documents, we did not receive all the documents so that we can review and give effective response to the allocations. This is a very important exercise because it provides for the funding of Government for the entire year ahead,” said Clarice Modeste, Member of Parliament for St Mark.
“This action that we take is a wakeup call to our colleagues in Parliament…all of us are equal in the Parliament and we need to treat each other in the way. They may be in a position now but be in another position later,” said Peter David, Member of Parliament for the Town of St George.
The Government has described the action of the Opposition as reckless and absconding from their duties in Parliament.