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Turks and Caicos Opposition walks out of Budget Debate, cites HOA Speaker as biased

File Photo, PNP Opposition at Opening of House of Assembly - June 18, 2018

#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – Friday, July 13, 2018 – The entire Opposition of the Turks and Caicos Islands this morning walked  out of the House of Assembly after the Budget Debate came to what they believe was an abrupt end.   

The PNP side, including Independent member, Hon Josephine Connolly said they were caught off guard by the call for more contributions and then quick close to the debate by the House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Dwayne Taylor.

“The Speaker called for more contributions and he claimed that no one responded and he asked the Premier to wrap up and I believe he ignored the light of Hon Porsha Smith.”

In a telephone interview, Leader of the Opposition, Hon Washington Misick explained that at least four members had not yet made a contribution to the Budget, which was on July 10 presented by Premier and Finance Minister, Hon Sharlene Robinson.  

Among them, the Members for The Bight, South Caicos and Grand Turk North.

The Opposition Leader believes, the Speaker could have over-ridden his own announcement that debate was ended; but chose not to do so intentionally.

“It’s a pattern of his lack of even-handedness and one-sidedness and this is a matter that I plan to look into because as far as we are concerned on our side, we have absolutely no confidence in the Speaker and so we have decided under the circumstances to ‘walk out’.”

Hon Misick explained that the PNP side was caught off guard by the sudden end to the important debate, especially, as the Chairman of the PDM and Member for Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill, Hon Douglas Parnell had yet to make his contribution.

“…who happened to have been out of the chamber at the time, having his speech printed so that he could go back inside to deliver it and the Premier knew that, because I saw him speaking to her about it so I think with them, they saw a strategic opportunity to exclude the Opposition and they embraced it.  I know he was caught off guard and so it’s a collusion on the part of the Premier and potentially the chairman of the PDM Party, Hon Parnell and the Speaker; I can’t put it any other way.”  

Hon Misick said while he believes there has been a firm presentation and recommendations made already by the PNP Opposition on the Budget, the Speaker should have extended to them the courtesy of hearing the remaining Opposition House members and their contributions on the debate.

A press conference is called for 1:30 p.m. today, where the Opposition Leader will address the media formally on their lack of confidence his party has in the Speaker of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly.

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