Speaker of the House Sir Gerald Watt has condemned the Opposition United Progressive Party for Boycotting the 2017 Budget Presentation or what he termed as a breach in the relevant standing order of the house.
Earlier this week the UPP announced plans to stage a Budget Speech Boycott and protest against the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) in response to mounting public dissatisfaction with ABLP failures and scandals.
However, Sir Gerald during the sitting of the House outlined that elected parliamentarians do not have any power to absent themselves from any sitting outside of the rules of the House.
He said that every member of the House is bound to attend sittings of parliament and can only be absent while on official business, hence a boycott of any sitting of the parliament for a political picket is an attack on the great institution that is the parliament.
Meantime Opposition Member of Parliament for All Saints East and St. Luke the Hon. Joanne Massiah was greeted by loud applause from Members of the Government and members of the public upon entering the chamber of the House for the 2017 Budget presentation by Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston, despite her party’s decision to boycott the sitting of the House of Representatives.
The Opposition member who would have driven along the route where her Opposition colleagues were picketing outside the Parliament building is said to have remarked that she is about doing the business of the people who elected her to the House.