Opposition walks out of parliament, PM says he broke no conventions (see video)

By SNO Staff
Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre

Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre

The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) staged a walk out of parliament today, June 20 in protest of what it said was the “spiteful and vindictive” behaviour exhibited by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

The opposition members exited the second debate sitting on the Appropriation Bill shortly after a presentation by member for Laborie Alva Baptiste, and moments after the prime minister rose to close the debate.

The SLP held a press conference to address the matter later in the day.

Leader of the Opposition Philip J Pierre told the conference that the walk-out seemed necessary after a number of lines were crossed by the prime minister.

One of them, according to him, was the “first time”  a government’s first budget debate was adjourned by 40 days. Pierre said such a move has “serious implications for the country.”

“We can only say that it was adjourned because of spitefulness and vindictiveness and the prime minister wants to make a point that he is in charge,” he said.

Furthermore, Pierre accused Chastanet of refusing to allow four senior members of his government to speak on matters of national interest at the House sitting. He said these members include former prime minister Stephenson King and Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph.

“It is convention and normal that after an opposition member speaks, a member of the government responds. Again, we came willing and able to speak to the issues of the budget but the prime minister, in his normal vindictive and spiteful manner, because he has the power of rebuttal, refuses to allow four senior members of his government to speak,” Pierre said.

“We wanted to hear from Mr King; what is the state of the Gros Islet Highway? What is the state of the Hewanorra Airport? The prime minister did not allow Mr. Stephenson King to speak,” Pierre argued.

He was adamant that the SLP will not allow the prime minister “to run roughshod over us”.

“We have said to the government that we are not against St. Lucia. We have a responsibility to St. Lucia; 37,000 people voted for us. We want to defend these people… We want St. Lucia to progress. We want St. Lucia to advance. But the government is callous,[and] it holds the opposition in contempt… and it believes in victimisation,” the SLP leader said.

“The point that we are making is that we did not stay in the parliament this morning. We did not give the prime minister the courtesy of listening to him because he has showed utter contempt and disregard for the people of St. Lucia and the parliament of St. Lucia. The parliament does not belong to the prime minister,” Pierre stated.

Meanwhile, Chastanet, in responding to claims that he broke conventions at the House sitting by not allowing the opposition an opportunity to speak following the Laborie member’s presentation, said that when given the chance, no one chose to speak and because of this he closed the debate.

He argued that based on the House of Assembly’s standing orders there is no speaking order.

“So generally, we have said, if in fact we have eleven [members] and they have six then two of my people would go to one of theirs. So if you take that mathematics and apply to the fact that we have done seven already, they’re two speakers behind,” he said.

Chastanet accused members of the SLP of both adhering and abandoning conventions when it suits them.

(4)(30)
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29 comments

  1. YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

    (3)(0)
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  3. Time and time again, the SLP's brainless are true to form. It happens all the time.

    Those with nothing to substantive to add to the conversation in parliament, always take the easy way out. They walk.

    SLP voters will always cheer. Isn't that what they voted for, in the first place? It figures.

    (10)(1)
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  5. What if the UWP had no buget debate such as what existed last year? Would Pierre have asked that question about 40 days? Beats me.

    (5)(0)
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  7. Y'all flambeau people upset me. Like chastnet care or know y'all. Y'all want to quarell for politicians and at the end of the day they make their big money whilst majority of y'all commenting eh have job. smfh

    (3)(18)
    • Just a hunch, but are you a "Labour-right" ? I swear that our biases prevent us from thinking sensibly, and the country shall never go forward if this is perpetuated

      (10)(2)
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  9. The PM can do a better job or riding roughshod when you people are out. How fortunate he has become.

    (7)(0)
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  11. Which just goes to prove how irrelevant they really are to what is going on in the country. Only the unemployed STEP can join forces with them. Both groups are idle.

    (22)(1)
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  13. the 37,000 people that voted for u'll SLP is 37,000 j---k a--s--s--e--s

    (18)(1)
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  15. They needed the exercise. Diet and exercise the doctors said. Diet and exercise. Stiff joints? Well we all know that dere orreddy.

    (11)(0)
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  17. So why couldn't Pierre ask these questions in the House, isn't that the purpose of these sittings? If you have a question to ask of the Ministers would organizing your own press conference be a better way? Labour gone Mad!!!

    (19)(0)
    • Not really. There is a special time for asking questions of Ministers inthe House. It is called Question Time, and it allows a Minister to reply to any question that must be submitted to the Speaker for approval before a sitting of the House. Nevertheless, a Minister at whom a question is directed my refuse to answer a question for various reasons. By the way, yesterday's sitting could not deal with questions, because it was purposefully for concluding the debate on the Appropriation Bill, a debate that the law says must be on "policy" involving the different Ministries. So one would expect that, given that law as it pertains to Parliament, the policy leaders, ie the Ministers, would have taken the lead in presenting Gobernment policies, and allow the Opposition to respond. however, it seems that the Government wanted it the other way round. Poor jab.

      (2)(7)
      • Well considering the last budget passed by the Labor admin had no presentation of policy statement, how does that compare with what occurred? Are you saying that Labour's actions last year was far more egregious?

        (0)(0)
        • No, no,no, I am not saying that at all. I take a very central position in this matter. It was very, very, very wrong when Kenny did it, in his capacity as Minister for Finance. And, between you and me, I am very, very happy that his party was booted out of office. But this Government must not do the same, because this approach is not in keeping with good Parliamentary practice. Somebody needs to stop the rot. I know a little more than you about the foolishness that Kenny did in his final term, pretending that he knew it all, and behaving as if he were the God of Parliament. But I do not like roro, so I will not expose his misdeeds here. All I want, is to see this Government do better. Trust me, I am sincere. And, because I have no debt, except for lights, water and petrol, I do not patronise any political party for me to be indebted to them. my wife takes care of food. We, as St. Lucians, must begin to behave like the parents who scold their children anytime they do wrong, rather than blatantly showing bias. Let us all become financially independent so that we do not have to kiss ass. You check ?

          (1)(0)
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  19. It is time that Lucian Politicians get serious and get down to work for the good of the country and its people. Stop your childish behaviour "LABOUR"

    (19)(3)
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  21. The opposition does not have to speak however the persons who hold ministries with responsibility for spending our tax dollars do. It is surprising therefore that the PM says that his ministers do not have to speak. That I find is highly disrespectful to his ministers and to the general public in particular.

    (4)(9)
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  23. Good focus PM keep on doing what is good for country and do not waste time with the opposition. They have nothing to offer same old story ,attack and more attack no new ideas

    (23)(3)
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  25. No respect for St. Lucians in general. Think they can bully their way through anything. Hungry for power idiots!

    (23)(1)
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  27. slp should stay out. they offer nothing to help the country. it is so nice to see them so helpless

    (26)(0)
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  29. Chastanet right. Now Pierre they wanted to defend the 37,000 people which voted for them. really. Bull shit. From the days of George Charles people always seems to be victimizing labour . 60 years later you mean nothing had change. Keep walking out. stay in the house and represent the people that represent or voted for you'll Pierre should go as leader. waste if time. well done Allen. I don't support you ,but Pierre and his boys need to grow up.

    (21)(3)
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  31. Chastanet’s governmental style is looking like a pappyshow. Chastanet leadership is as though he is a one-man band. In no time he’ll tire and his ministers will be undermined like insecure children needing reassurance for using their initiative - please fix up.
    As for the SLP, your role in opposition is to ready yourself to take the reins of power so less of the griping.

    St Lucia deserves better governance.

    (2)(19)
    • And how can the SLP help to create better governance when, in what the law says must be a debate on policy underlying the Budget, the policy makers refuse to speak and make it appear as if the responsibility for policy making lies with the Opposition and that the Government side must allow the Opposition "lead" the debate while the Government side reserve the right to "reply" if they want ? Somehow, I thought it had to be the other way round. But anyway, what will be MUST be, by the Grace of God. I have lived too long on God's green earth , not to remember how Governments come in and how they go out in this blessed island of ours. No amount of jeering, talking, commentary, name calling, and wishful thinking can stop the tide of change when the time comes. In the meantime, let us not bask in what be mistakenly believe is the sunshine of our political satisfaction. We might wake up one day and realise that we are still hungry and thirsty.

      (3)(0)
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  33. three strikes and you out you all have used up two one left
    the ignorance that those slp idiots show only says that they are still suffering from the elections defeat they are use the fact that there was a large showing at their protest march to think that people supports what they are doing but TAN TOE TAN TOE THE PEOPLE ARE GETTING FED UP OF THE CONFRONTATION THAT YOU PEOPLE STAGING THE LONGEST ROPE HAS AN END
    having these press conferences wont help you all for sure

    (12)(0)
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  35. Chronic instability

    Poor Pierre, talking orders from someone who barely has a single year as a representative, and who it marred by the Jufalli scandal. They are playing Mr. Ray Charles! The unstable media advisor is giving youunstable advice. Do not walk the plank towards political suicide!

    (13)(2)
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  37. It is a real disgrace the way the opposition party (SLP) is acting.The same Mr.Pierre who called Mr.Chastanet so many disrespectful names during the election period is showing his true colors.Mr.Pierre will never be a leader of any government shame on him in the shadow of his former boss Mr.Anthony a failed Prime Minister.Mr.Chastanet is already accomplishing great things for this great country of over 187,000 people in such a short time,he is on his way in becoming the most accomplished Prime Minister of St.Lucia.Mr.Chastanet a humble patriot will make St.Lucia great again.Mr Anthony should resign as MP for Vieux Fort South.

    (10)(3)
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  39. Chastnet is a liar and madam speaker liar just like these bunch of idiots chastnet and company wake up st lucians anyways at the polls the electorate speaks be calm wait for it

    (0)(13)
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  41. They needed the exercise. Stiff joints you already.

    (24)(2)

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