Eighth District Representative Marlon Penn recently stated that Opposition members of the House of Assembly are hoping that the 2024 budget will allocate funds to take care of Opposition business.
Penn said Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has not heeded any of the Opposition’s calls for funds needed to do work that will help to hold the government accountable.
“We at least need to have money for legal support because if we’re going to draft amendments or bills to bring to the House, we need the expertise to support us. The Leader of the Opposition had a list of things we said we needed to function as an Opposition, we had a discussion with the Premier and to date we’ve not gotten any of those things,” Penn told the Talking Points radio show recently.
He also argued that the last the Opposition was properly funded under the former NDP administration led at the time by Dr D Orlando Smith.
“The first time the Opposition received any true funding was when Dr Smith was Premier. We gave the Leader of the Opposition $30,000 to conduct his business — do press conferences, have meetings, hire a lawyer and do some of the business of the Opposition,” Penn explained.
The government and members of the Opposition have been at odds since the April general elections, as the Opposition continues to demand fairness from the Wheatley administration as it relates to the running of the House of Assembly. However, Premier Wheatley continues to maintain that his government is doing nothing new, adding that previous governments have led the territory similar to his administration.
He said members of the Opposition continue to complain as part of their plan to undermine his government.
Penn said the Opposition will listening keenly to the Premier’s upcoming presentation for the 2024 budget to see whether allocations have been made to accomodate any requests the Opposition has made.
“So we’re going through the budget now and we’re going to see if the budget reflects any of those things in principle with the government,” Penn stated.
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