By Stephen Kangal
January 20, 2017
As a dedicated viewer of the Parliamentary Channel I am disappointed and indeed saddened to witness the proceedings of the honourable and hallowed House under the Rowley Administration being reduced and relegated retrogressively to that of a circus full of clowns, lacking in seriousness, displaying wanton disrespect and being adjourned prematurely, frequently and in a hurry in spite of the outstanding matters listed on the Order Paper.
It appears as if they, that is the Government side are either going through a period of forced detention in Parliament, having other more important matters to conduct outside of the House or adjourning early for an after- work Friday lime on Ariapita Avenue. This is how the people’s business is being subordinated by those pretenders who sold themselves as being red and ready but after sixteen months in office have showed no credible signs of real performance even after two retreats and no war on the criminals.
The much anticipated sitting of the House was shambolic on Friday 13 January.. The Minister of Finance apparently having been forced against his will and, shall I say against his political judgement that is a recurring rarity, reluctantly moved with great sound and fury motion to remove FATCA from the remit of the House Committee of the Whole and be referred to a JSC for further consideration.
In my view FATCA was no longer under the radar, possession and purview of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole. The Committee had concluded its work on the Bill with finality having approved the amendments. It dissolved its ad hoc role on 12 December 2016 and had to obtain a fresh mandate from the House to sit again.
The Deputy Speaker as Committee Chairman thereafter, now had custody of the Bill. He was then authorised to report to the Plenary of the House yesterday and restore the amended Bill back where it belonged.
The circus continued with the mover of the FATCA Motion, Finance Minister Colm Imbert using verbal and non–verbal language/tantrums not only to hide and sublimate his embarrassing climb- down for having wasted the time of Parliament on the 9 and 12 of December last in the worst, non-productive, arrogant, and fruitless display of going- it- alone on a Bill that could go no- where without Opposition acquiescence. That four-page pull-out on FATCA published in the print media on FACTA amendments effected in the Committee stage was wasteful.
It also appears that there was a virtual conspiracy between The Speaker and the Finance Minister to jointly and individually disrespect and embarrass the former Prime Minister/ Leader of the Opposition when the latter made spurious and distasteful allegations of non-existent absurdity against her.
As for The Speaker even though there was ample time in the sitting to accord and allow the two important Motions moved on Matters of Urgent Public Importance relating to the Petrotrin strike and the Crime Pandemic (second time) the requisite one hour each, she chose to reject again the crime motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition. Instead she opted to give the Petrotrin industrial impasse undue precedence even though she knew before-hand that the FATCA matter was going to be exclusively procedural, short and will make time available for the Crime Motion to be debated.
In fact the House as previously adjourned prematurely early at around minutes after 4 p.m even though the Gambling Bill was up for discussion in the Order Paper as if to free-up members to attend to their Ariapita Avenue lime.