#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 3, 2018 – The Leader of the Opposition business in the Turks and Caicos House of Assembly, nearly two weeks after the official Opening of Parliament, has finally delivered his response to the Speech from the Throne which was since Monday June 18 delivered by the Governor on behalf of the PDM Administration.
Hon. Washington Misick on Friday June 29 fired back with an over one hour long response encompassing a number of charges against the government administration, including an agenda change on June 18 which broke tradition and delayed his response to the Throne Speech.
“I believe it is incumbent upon us as honourable people to follow tradition to the extent that it doesn’t usurp the rights of anyone. And so, Mr. Speaker In most parliament the State Opening features the Speech from the Throne in the morning, and in the afternoon the House resumes and responds with the address in reply debate. In the Turks and Caicos, it has been the tradition for the Leader of the Opposition to reply immediately and I was prepared to do so – prepared or not. While the Constitution Mr. Speaker, gives the Premier the authority as the Leader of Government business the right to alter the Order Paper it is against the spirit of the Constitution or the Standing Order to lightly dispense with long established parliamentary practice for no apparent good reason.”
Just before the comment, there was a verbal wrangle over what was said and what was meant in a jab given by Premier Sharlene Robinson on House Opening day, which the Opposition Leader said gave an impression that she was treated similarly when Rufus Ewing was country leader. Misick denied that ever being the case.
Opposition Leader Washington Misick believes there was no legitimate reason for him being denied his response to the Throne Speech on the same day as it was given. The PNP Leader also surmised that the PDM Government has not presented a recovery budget, as touted and has no legislative agenda.
The fifth All Island Member announced that the PNP Opposition would support a change, which makes it permanently mandatory for the response from the Opposition Leader to the Speech from the Throne be made on the same day.
“Mr. Speaker it is your duty to protect the right of the minority and history will judge your speakership largely based on society perception of fairness in doing this… it would be acceptable to this side of the House, going forward, and I suggest Mr. Speaker, that the House establish the practice that the reply to the Throne Speech be made in the afternoon of the day that the Speech is delivered.”
Misick said his suggested agenda gives any Opposition Leader the time required to prepare a fact-based rebuttal to the Speech from the Throne.
“Having read the Throne Speech and having glanced quickly over the estimates of expenditure and revenue, the Budget; I would contend that contrary to pronouncements in the Throne Speech and also the pronouncements in the Budget Booklet itself… I contend that this is not a recovery budget whatsoever…”
Hon Washington Misick, in the midst of a humourous analogy, called the plans of the sitting Government, empty.
“This budget is quite vacuous, the Speech from the Throne is vacuous…” the LOO ended his opening remarks with the punchline of the joke, “Mr. Speaker the future, if this (Budget and Throne Speech) is what we have to depend on, is in deep do-do.”
Specifically, the Opposition Leader cited that the Throne Speech and the Budget Estimates show inconsistencies and makes ‘bogus claims’.
“Regrettably there is little that is specific, measurable or time bound but worst of all Mr. Speaker, a review of the Estimates quickly reveal the lack of financial provisions for most of the vague promises spoken to in the Speech from the Throne.”
Contributions on the Throne Speech continued into Friday.