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Opposition walks out of House after objections to the budget

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Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2020. 11:23 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The members of the Opposition People’s United Party have left the National Assembly after leader John Briceno objected to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow presenting the 2020 General Revenue and Appropriations Bill. The opposition’s objection led to a series of back and forth that ended up with the Prime Minister alluding that Briceno should have taken his ‘simple pills’ this morning.

The Opposition had asked for their motion of no confidence to be debated first per convention, but Speaker Laura Longsworth refused due to lack of sufficient notice.

Then as the Prime Minister rose for the first reading, Briceno rose to object that technically he is not the leader of the UDP (as has been explained he remains so by virtue of the party’s Constitution and has not resigned or called general elections).

The Speaker ordered he take his seat, leaving the Prime Minister an opening.

He pointed out that he had asked the speaker to delay the start of today’s meeting as he had missed taking his painkilllers, and quipped, “Wish that you had turned back and taken your simple pills,” drawing howls from the gallery.

The Speaker sternly called for order as the Opposition sought an apology, but Briceno said they would leave while the Budget was being read – the charade as he called it – and return for other debates.

The Prime Minister is now reading the Budget while the Opposition has joined a small protest outside the National Assembly building.

 

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