Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira slammed the government with accusations of “trickery” as Leader of the House and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo presented a motion to reduce the number of days for the consideration of the estimates of expenditure to three days from seven.
The motion was eventually passed when put to a vote but was not without resistance by members of Opposition People’s Progressive Party.
The period for the consideration of estimates usually provides the Opposition MPs with an opportunity to consider the budget, line by line, and ask the government Ministers in the House related questions.
The motion also suspends Standing Orders 10 (1) and (2) to also extend the daily timing for the consideration from 14:00 hours to 23:00 hours. In her rejection, Teixeira cited Standing Order 73 (1) which allows for the maximum seven days for the consideration says the motion was improper since it did not suspend that Standing Order.
“Outside of what is a procedural matter, it augers badly for the new administration to restrict the debate on the estimates to three days. Debates on the estimates have taken place between five to seven days while the PPP were in government,” she added.
The Chief Whip said she was also saddened since there was no discussion between the two parties, contrary to the usual courtesy that is extended.
“We have no objections to the times but we are opposed to the three days that the estimates are being cut from the maximum of seven days and this is unacceptable,” she added. She contended too that the renaming of several ministries will double up the work of the opposition.
Despite Texeira’s contentions, the motion was deem proper by the Speaker and put to a vote where it was supported by the majority government MPs. The consideration of the 2015 estimates of expenditure will commence on Monday, August 24 and end on Wednesday, August 26.