Payne: Opposition under stress
ST ANDREW Member of Parliament (MP) George Payne has reiterated a call for a gun policy for Parliament.
Addressing a political mass meeting at Eagle Hall on Sunday night, Payne charged that democracy was under threat and that sittings of Parliament since the alleged incident, involving deputy political leader Dale Marshall and Minister of Economic Affairs Dr David Estwick, have been very stressful for those on the Opposition bench.
He said he witnessed the alleged incident, stating that while Estwick had apologised when he said he had done nothing wrong, “I can’t understand what he has apologised for. I was even more frightened when I read the NATION headline and accompanying story where Estwick was saying ‘put up or shut up’.”
Payne added that at the second last sitting of Parliament it was stated as a boycott “but we were fearful for our lives. We were asking for the Speaker to put a guns policy in place, that is all we were asking . . . so we could come back to Parliament, that is all.
“The last three sittings have been stress, real stress. What else can you give to your country but your life and when that is being threatened, that has gone past democracy being threatened.”
Payne, a former minister of housing and tourism, chided Speaker of the House Michael Carrington for the stance he took when he asked them to leave the Chamber and called on the marshals to escort them.
He said at last Tuesday’s sitting, the Opposition wanted to raise the question of safety of members as well as he financial security of those 800 people who invested in CLICO or bought policies after the company was told to stop writing new business: “Those are the issues we wanted to address.”
The St Andrew MP also touched on the subject of the Minister of Education talking down to principals as though they were children in primary school and also adding that the State-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation was being used in a way that it has never been used before. (PW)