St Lucia: Deputy Prime Minister and Parliamentary representative of Castries constituency Ernest Hilaire shred an update on the topics and matters of concern discussed in the Parliament of St Lucia throughout the week.
On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Deputy PM Hilaire through his Facebook post stated that this week was also going to be an interesting one, it was just a matter of what it would be. It proved to be the actions of Allen Chastanet and no surprise there.
While updating the matters discussed in the parliament, Ernest Hilaire stated:
On Monday, members of parliament paid tribute to PC Nathan Timaitre. Ernest Hilaire noted,” It was an abbreviated Cabinet Meeting as all Ministers expressed an interest in attending the State Funeral for PC Nathan Timaitre. Funerals are usually sad events but to hear others speak, so glowing the young officer was touching. Surely, from all that was said, we have lost a fine soul. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Deputy PM said that Tuesday was the presentation of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2022-23. Philip J. Pierre presented the largest budget in history. It was an immaculate balance between ensuring the provision of economic and social support for so many sectors traditionally disadvantaged and worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that stimulus is provided to the productive sectors to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery. A People’s Statement presentation.
Tuesday night was the launch of Lucian Carnival 2022. When the government first announced that they would host Carnival, some thought that it was irresponsible and careless. However, they believed they needed to plan in advance and monitor developments before a final decision was made. It seems that this was a sensible approach. Hilaire added that he is excited by the programme which has been prepared and they will continue to plan for whatever circumstances that befall us.
Wednesday started off with some anticipated gamesmanship or disdain, depending on how generous one is. As the Debate was about to start the Speaker would inform Hilaire, as Leader of Government Business, that the Leader of the Opposition had complained that he had not given him the courtesy of a call to find out when he wanted to speak.
He stated, “After five years in Opposition, I found this most unusual as it never happened that way when Allen Chastanet was Leader of Government Business, as he never called Philip J. Pierre, as the then Leader of Opposition, to extend such courtesy. Notwithstanding, I asked the Speaker to arrange a meeting so we can reach an agreement. The LOO (Leader of the Opposition) first complained that an extra day should have been given to him to prepare, but once it was established that was not the practice, he then argued we should start at 2 pm.”
From discussions with the LOO, he clearly stated that he wanted to speak after all the Government speakers so that he could rebut all. He did not accept that there was a convention that the LOO speaks after the Minister of Finance to rebut the presentation. In the end, he was left to commence the Debate. We ended prematurely on the first day as the LOO refused to speak even at prime time, Hilaire added.
Thursday morning started off with another meeting with the LOO in an attempt to encourage him to speak earlier as he would not be allowed the courtesy of speaking last, which was unheard of in the history of the parliament and certainly not allowed by him during his time as PM and Leader of Government Business.
He continued to insist that he should be given the right to speak last or that the debate could be ended. Eventually, the Minister of Finance ended the Debate rather than continue to engage in a cat and mouse game with the LOO. Ministers who did not speak will surely get a chance to present their Ministerial plans during the policy debate. The people’s agenda will not be stalled or aborted.
Friday was spent catching up on numerous outstanding matters, including finalizing the institutional arrangements for planning and managing Lucian Carnival 2022.
“Saturday was back to the constituency touching base with constituents. I am so thankful to everyone for the continued support given to me thus far. The pressure is always there for jobs and for help to meet daily needs but I remain as excited as always to lead the transformation of Castries South. The work continues,” underscored Deputy prime minister.