The budget debate for the 2020 fiscal year kicked off in the House of Assembly (HOA) on Friday, December 13 and only one member from the parliamentary Opposition was present.
The debate — which can be described as one of the most important parliamentary sittings in any given year — was originally scheduled for Thursday, December 12, but was later postponed hours after the expected start time.
Speaker of the HOA Julian Willock, issued an apology at the beginning of the session, stating the rescheduling was due to technical difficulties experienced by his office.
Meanwhile, after only three minutes into the start of today’s session, the Opposition that comprised only one of five members was invited to make contributions to the debate.
None was given by the lone Opposition member — Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines. The session then advanced to the private ‘Committee stage’ of the proceedings.
When the House reopened to the public later, Premier Andrew Fahie moved a motion to allow the debate to be reopened so members of the Opposition who were absent to make their contributions.
When BVI News contacted Opposition Leader Marlon Penn following the morning session of the House, he said: “I was at the hospital and informed the Speaker that I would be late until 11 am.”
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