Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland on Monday disallowed a request by opposition Member of Parliament, Gail Teixeira for the vote on expenditure for a section of the Ministry of the Presidency to be put off until Minister of State Harmon can provide the Opposition with information requested on contracted employees.
Teixeira in making the request said it is a reasonable one and has been allowed in the past.
However, Minister of Natural Resources and former House Speaker, Raphael Trotman objected to the Opposition’s request, noting that when he was Speaker about 85% of answers were not provided.
“We never held up the business of government,” Trotman said.
In the exchange that followed, the Opposition Chief Whip said her party was not trying to disrupt the business of the House and she reiterated her request to have the items deferred.
The $2.6 billion expenditure for this section – Policy Development and Administration – was being defended by Minister Harmon.
Harmon said his information is explanatory and does not affect the figures in the budget.
“I have not stood here and try to defend things that we can’t defend. I have said I will provide the information and you can hold me to that…we are not hiding anything,” he added.
Speaker Scotland ruled that he will be guided by the fact that Minister Harmon has committed to give all the information within the next 24 hours.
The Speaker said he will allow the voting to proceed and will await tomorrow to receive the answer to all questions provided.
Former Speaker Trotman also recommended that the Speaker follow the precedence set in the House and allow the voting to proceed.
The $2.6 billion allocated under this section for the Ministry was in the end put to a vote and passed with a majority vote from the government.