PUP defend walkout over Patrick Andrews; PM calls it “unforgivable”
Monday, June 29, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte ordered Senator Patrick Andrews to leave the gallery at Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives after he was found to have disrupted the session.
Not surprisingly, both sides differ about the power of the Speaker to make that decision. For the PUP, the Speaker’s decision was an error in law, according to PUP leader Francis Fonseca, who repeated the party’s Friday statement on the matter.
PUP deputy leader Julius Espat said the party was ambivalent about an atmosphere that he argues does not contribute to meaningful debate on national issues.
And while Espat was philosophical, Fonseca was fierily determined to put an end to the UDP’s reign in the House and in the Government, saying that the blue have not given up yet.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has doubled down on his position. He insists that Andrews’ title gave him no special privileges, especially since he was not there in that name on Friday.
As the man in ultimate control, the Speaker was able to toss Andrews because he was “a stranger” under the law – he was not in the chamber in his legislative capacity but as a supporter of the PUP.
PM Barrow was also not impressed by the PUP’s efforts to try to retake their place in the debate, saying they committed dereliction of duty by walking out at a crucial time when the nation was tuned in for a debate and the UDP’s were ready to respond.
The PM warned that Belizeans will not easily forgive the PUP’s actions.
Walkouts from the House have been a favorite tactic of Opposition parties opposed to Government policies over the years.
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