St Lucia: Deputy PM Hillarie shares update on weekly doings in Parliament

This week was always going to be an interesting one; it was just a matter of what it would be. It proved to be the actions of Allen Chastanet, and no surprise there.

St Lucia: Deputy PM Hillarie shares update on weekly doings in Parliament
St Lucia: Deputy PM Hillarie shares update on weekly doings in Parliament

St Lucia: This week was always going to be an interesting one; it was just a matter of what it would be. It proved to be the actions of Allen Chastanet, and no surprise there.

Deputy PM stated, “On Monday, it was an abbreviated Cabinet Meeting as all Ministers expressed an interest in attending the State Funeral for PC Nathan Timaitre. Funerals are usually sad events, but to hear others speak so glowing of the young officer was touching. Surely, we have lost a fine soul from all that was said. May he rest in eternal peace.”

“Tuesday was the presentation of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2022-23. Philip J. Pierre presented the largest budget in our history. It was an immaculate balance between ensuring economic and social support for so many sectors traditionally disadvantaged and worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that stimulus is provided to the productive sectors to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery. A job well done. A People’s Statement presentation.
Tuesday night was the launch of Lucian Carnival 2022. When we first announced that we would host Carnival, some thought it was irresponsible and careless. However, we believed we needed to plan and monitor developments before making a final decision. It seems that this was a sensible approach. I am excited by the programme which has been prepared, and we will continue to plan for whatever circumstances that befall us,” Hillarie stated while informing about the new day.

While stating about Wednesday, he mentioned, “The day started off with some anticipated gamesmanship or disdain, depending on how generous one is. As the debate started, the Speaker would inform me, as Leader of Government Business, that the Leader of the Opposition had complained that I had not given him the courtesy of a call to find out when he wanted to speak. After five years in Opposition, I found this most unusual as it never happened that way when Allen Chastanet was the Leader of Government Business, as he never called Philip J. Pierre, as the then Leader of Opposition, extended such courtesy. Notwithstanding, I asked the Speaker to arrange a meeting so we could reach an agreement. The LOO (Leader of the Opposition) first complained that an extra day should have been given to him to prepare, but once it was established that was not the practice, he then argued we should start at 2 pm. From discussions with the LOO, he clearly stated that he wanted to speak after all the Government speakers so that he could rebut all. He did not accept that there was a convention that the LOO spoke after the Minister of Finance rebutted the presentation. In the end, I was left to commence the debate. We ended prematurely on the first day as the LOO refused to speak even at prime time.”

“Thursday morning started off with another meeting with the LOO in an attempt to encourage him to speak earlier as he would not be allowed the courtesy of speaking last, which was unheard of in the history of our parliament and certainly not allowed by him during his time as PM and Leader of Government Business. He continued that he should be given the right to speak last or that the debate could be ended. Eventually, the Minister of Finance ended the debate rather than continue to engage in a cat and mouse game with the LOO. Our Ministers who did not speak will surely get a chance to present their Ministerial plans during the policy debate. The people’s agenda will not be stalled or aborted,” he stated.

MP for Castries South Hillarie outlined, “Friday was spent catching up on numerous outstanding matters, including finalising the institutional arrangements for planning and managing Lucian Carnival 2022.

Saturday was back to the constituency, touching base with constituents. I am so thankful to everyone for the continued support given to me thus far. The pressure is always there for jobs and for help to meet daily needs, but I remain as excited as always to lead the transformation of Castries South. The work continues.”