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Close call in Parliament

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Close call in Parliament

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That was close.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration came a vote shy of not being able to pass two money resolutions through the House of Assembly Friday night, as debate on the Appropriations Bill came to a close.
In the end, the new DLP Government was able to break a 14-14 tie just before 9 p.m. when Chairman of Committees James Paul voted ‘aye’ for a 15-14 majority.
Paul was presiding instead of the Speaker because the House was in Committee of Supply, which votes on government’s expenditure plans, including supplementaries.
The money resolutions, totalling $30.1 million, concerned the Barbados Agricultural Marketing Corporation (BAMC) – to pay off a bond issue – and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) – to pay debts owed at the end of the last financial year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Water Resource Management, Dr David Estwick, revealed that the BWA continued to suffer heavy losses and had cash flow problems, mainly due to 15 000 meters which are out of operation. ‘We are losing well over $1 million a month because of that,” the minister said.
In response to a number of queries from Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and MP for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds, Estwick reiterated that consulting company Deloitte had found no substantial issues in the project to construct the Barbados Water Authority’s new $70 million headquarters. “…And that’s all I have to say about that. You can talk now to the cows come home,” Estwick told Symmonds before retaking his seat.
It was after the resolution was read a first time thatindividual MPs voted on the passing of the matter, with the vote ending 14-14 when every member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Opposition voted against.
Paul’s final vote gave the Government a 15-14 advantage, allowing the resolution to be passed. (BA)