The Parliamentary Budget Debate on Wednesday commenced with brief disorder resulting in Speaker of the House Hon. Curtis Martin ordering Deputy Prime Minister Sam Condor to ‘simmer down”. The commotion began minutes into the second convening of parliament when House newcomer Opposition Senator Vincent Byron Jr. attempted to raise a Point of Order regarding the March 10 appointment of a Deputy Speaker and the subsequent resignation from the position. On March 10 at parliament’s first convening after the January elections, in accordance with the constitution, a Deputy Speaker of the National of Assembly was appointed. After Byron turned down nomination for the position, Minister of Tourism Senator Richard Skerritt announced that he had resigned his ministerial portfolio and he was sworn in as Deputy Speaker. The following day it was announced that he had resigned the position and been re-instated as Minister of Tourism. Before Byron could orate fully on his Point of Order, he was promptly cut short By Condor who questioned the purpose and nature of the attorney’s motion. “Parliament is not out of order. What is the Point of Order? A Point of Order is bringing the parliament to order. Is the parliament out of order? Find out from him Mr. Speaker what is his Point of Order,” Condor demanded. Martin responded to Condor By saying he was attempting to ascertain what the Point of Order was and asked Condor to allow him to get there. He then told Byron, “Make your point quickly. What exactly is your Point of Order?” “I would not like to refer to parliamentary rules, but if I am on the floor making a Point of Order I think it is the House that should rule whether someone can interrupt me,” Byron said. He attempted to quote a news report on the matter but was cautioned By the Speaker that he could not use “hearsay” as a source for parliamentary presentation. Byron continued, “Mr. Speaker, can you tell the House if you have received a resignation from the Deputy Speaker?” Byron asked. After receiving an affirmative response, he added that the letter of resignation had not been circulated to the House. “And as such I am raising a Point of Order that the House is out of order,” Byron insisted. The Speaker assured that if Byron wished to see a copy of Skerritt’s resignation, it would be made available after the cessation of that session of parliament. When Byron attempted to continue, Martin instructed him to have a seat. Following audible discontented murmurings By Condor, Martin cautioned the Minister to maintain order in the honorable House. As other members on the government’s side chided in, Martin warned the entire Assembly to cease the “cross talking”. Condor interjected, “This is parliament and parliament is in order. They can’t raise that; that is an explanation; that is a trial. That’s not how parliament operates. When you are out of order you are out of order. You can’t rise on a Point of Order to create disorder in parliament…These people come in here to create confusion in the place; we don’t want no confusion in de place!” Condor shouted. After repeated calls for Condor to cease the interruptions went ignored, the Speaker cautioned, “Honorable Member for Number three simmer down please. Simmer down, simmer down. Let’s get on with the people’s business please.” During Wednesday’s Budget Debate the Speaker had to call for order on several occasions, cautioning the parliamentarians on various indiscretions. He warned the members of the House that they all had to abide By the rules of parliament. “You shall adhere to the proper application of the rules and standing orders of this honorable House,” he asserted. Despite the continued warnings from Martin, the Budget Debate continued with an abundance of cross talk By both government and opposition members.
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