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Empty opposition benches during a meeting of Parliament in January 2016. (IWN photo)
Empty opposition benches during a meeting of Parliament in January 2016. (IWN photo)
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A government MP feels that the opposition has been forcing Parliament to violate the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Mr. Speaker, that we cannot let an obstructionist group force the Parliament to violate the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” MP for East St. George, Camillo Gonsalves told Parliament.

Gonsalves told Parliament last Friday that his comments were in light of the fact that the Constitutions says there “shall be a Public Accounts Committee.

“That we have to have it, and that the House shall appoint a public Accounts Committee. Not the Honourable Leader of the Opposition. The House shall appoint a Public Accounts Committee. And if the Honourable Leader of the Opposition is recalcitrant in that regard, it cannot force the entire House of Assembly into a violation of the constitution,” said Gonsalves, a lawyer.

“And I submit, Mr. Speaker, that, in my view, you have the authority to appoint where the Leader of the Opposition does not want to appoint.”

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MP for East St. George, Camillo Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)
MP for East St. George, Camillo Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

The Public Accounts Committee, which by convention in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is chaired by the Leader of the Opposition, has held very few meetings since Arnhim Eustace became Leader of the Opposition in 2001.

Gonsalves told Parliament that his view of the Constitution is similar for select committees of Parliament.

He made the point, noting that the Constitution says that select committees shall be constituted to reflect the balance in the House.

“But it has not taken place like that because they have refused to submit names for select committees,” Gonsalves said of the opposition.

“But you, I submit, Mr. Speaker, have the obligation to ensure that the select committees reflect the balance of the House. If the Honourable Leader of the Opposition does not want to name members to participate on the Public Accounts Committee or the special committees or the Committee on Finance, which just met without them this week, then, I believe that you, Mr. Speakers, can name members of the opposition and they can decide whether they want to attend.

“But their recalcitrance or their obstructionist behaviour cannot cause or force this entire Parliament to violate the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Standing Orders of this Honourable House.”

The opposition did not attend Parliament for the Estimates Debate on Friday as part of their on-going protest of the Dec. 9 general election, which they say were stolen by the ruling Unity Labour Party.

Gonsalves said that the Standing Orders contemplate excuses for absences of individuals.

“But it does not contemplate a bloc absence; it does not contemplate everybody walking out en masse because, under our rules, that cannot ever be an excused absence,” he said.

5 replies on “Opposiiton forcing Parliament to violate Constitution — MP”

  1. First we need to have a legitimate government, which we do not.

    If a sitting government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that elections were free and fair, they do not deserve to be the sitting government. When the ballot boxes were unsealed and the station leaders refused to allow the opposition to photograph them, that told me a lot!

    1. Regardless of whether the elections were actually stolen on election day or not — which I doubt — it is up to those who say they were stolen to prove that they were actually stolen, not the winning party to prove they were not stolen, logically and empirically an impossible task in this instance.

      Lostpet, this is simply Western jurisprudence 101: If you say I stole your car, money, wife, girlfriend … whatever, it is up to you to prove that I did so, not up to me to prove that I did not do so.

      Don’t buy into the mindless shit spouted by cranks like Luzette King.

      Only in the worst fascist regimes in the world — much of the Middle East and elsewhere — does the burden of disprove rest with the accused. Is this the kind of country you want SVG to become?

  2. Jeannine James says:

    Well, the way I am understanding it is that an obstructionist group has joined the arena within which there is a thieving, high-handed group so as to fulfill the promise of an “ungovernable” country. Spawn, Papa called it.

  3. Now I am back on IWN and will participate on some discussions. Today the cards are stacked – just like in the case of the 2015 election – against the NDP. If the NDP is forced to attend then I suggest they walk with earphones, so they don’t hear a word from the ULP thieves. The NDP must ensure that Ralph and the ULP do not control them and their actions.

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