Break­ing de law is law­mak­ers’ business!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Rosana Hosana

For some­one who takes ob­vi­ous plea­sure in be­ing re­ferred to as a con­sti­tu­tional lawyer, a bright boy, an in­tel­lec­tual—the only per­son in the world for whom his coun­try’s Con­sti­tu­tion and the con­sti­tu­tion of a po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion were amended for his ben­e­fit— Kenny An­thony sure does a poor job of demon­strat­ing an ap­pre­cia­ble un­der­stand­ing of the rules, tra­di­tions and con­ven­tions that un­der­score par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dure.

What is es­pe­cially disturbing is his stub­born in­sis­tence on em­ploy­ing a num­ber of ir­reg­u­lar prac­tices to achieve out­comes within and with­out the hal­lowed walls of par­lia­ment, not to say at the var­i­ous min­istries he heads.

In­deed it would ap­pear that of late, par­lia­ment has be­come Kenny An­thony’s play­ground. Cer­tainly he seems to rel­ish turn­ing the is­land’s high­est court into a fool’s par­adise, pur­pose­fully be­fud­dling the un­sus­pect­ing, largely un­pre­pared House op­po­si­tion. Take this year’s Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion which went through par­lia­ment a few months ago.

You may re­call, dear reader, that the prime min­is­ter had as­sumed a rather ar­ro­gant pos­ture at the start of the de­bate on the Bud­get mo­tion when he dic­tated to the House that he would al­low ev­ery MP to speak for one hour, ex­cept in the case of the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion whom he would al­low all the time she needed to make her con­tri­bu­tion.

What was shock­ing at that time was not only the PM’s outof-place at­tempt to con­trol the tim­ing of the MPs’ con­tri­bu­tions, but also the op­po­si­tion’s to­tal si­lence on the mat­ter.

The fact is that Kenny An­thony does not have the au­thor­ity to which MP should or should not speak, or their al­lot­ted time.

The time and man­ner of speak­ing is pro­vided for in Stand­ing Or­der 32 of the House of Assem­bly, and no prime min­is­ter can give or take that time. So, at the very least, one would have ex­pected the op­po­si­tion to call Kenny’s bluff. They did not. That was hardly the end of it.

The coun­try has seen sev­eral Bud­gets since in­de­pen­dence, and a pat­tern has been es­tab­lished within the rules for the pas­sage of the an­nual Es­ti­mates of Ex­pen­di­ture in the House of Assem­bly.

Th­ese rules call for the Es­ti­mates of Ex­pen­di­ture to be passed as a first or­der of business and for this to be fol­lowed by the in­tro­duc­tion of an Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Bill which, if passed, will au­tho­rize the Min­is­ter for Fi­nance to draw down sums con­tained within the ap­proved Es­ti­mates of Ex­pen­di­ture from the Con­sol­i­dated Fund.

Th­ese two events—the ini­tial pas­sage of the Bud­get through a mo­tion, and the sub­se­quent en­act­ment of ap­pro­pri­a­tion law through the Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Bill—nor­mally take place in a sin­gle block of time, within the same ses­sion of par­lia­ment.

But our wise Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance had other plans. He pi­loted the Bud­get mo­tion through the House, re­ceived par­lia­men­tary ap­proval on the evening of the open­ing of the year’s Jazz Fes­ti­val, and then he closed par­lia­ment.

It did not bother Kenny An­thony that he had a Bud­get which re­quired le­gal sanc­tion be­fore he could be­gin to spend it. What con­cerned him more was the peo­ple’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Jazz Fes­ti­val. So he pro­rogued par­lia­ment, and on-cam­era urged a group of jour­nal­ists out­side the par­lia­ment cham­ber to go and en­joy them­selves.

Once the Jazz Fes­ti­val was over, the king-like Kenny opened a new ses­sion of par­lia­ment, with the usual Throne Speech from the Lady on the Hill, and pur­sued the first or­der of business: the in­tro­duc­tion of the Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Bill, de­signed to bring the Bud­get cy­cle to a close.

So there you had it, dear reader: the first part of the Bud­get cy­cle tak­ing place in an “old” ses­sion of par­lia­ment, and the sec­ond part of the cy­cle tak­ing place in a “new” ses­sion. Clearly,a trans-ses­sional ap­proach to the 2014-2015 Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion.

Once again the mav­er­ick had struck; once again the noballs op­po­si­tion had re­mained voice­less!

Those who may be re­fer­ring to Kenny’s hap­haz­ard, un­prin­ci­pled, and ir­reg­u­lar ac­tions as strokes of bril­liance should stop a while and think of the con­se­quences to the Saint Lu­cian psy­che, and on the or­derly de­vel­op­ment of our na­tion.

Who among Kenny An­thony’s sup­port­ers are ready to start mend­ing our bro­ken coun­try?

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