Lee, Robinson-Regis row over speaking time

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC deputy leader David Lee. File Photo

HOUSE leader Camille Robinson-Regis and opposition whip David Lee clashed over the proposed speaking times for MPs in the House of Representatives on Monday, ahead of the debate on the mid-year review within the Finance (Supplementary Appropriation) (Financial Year 2022) Bill 2022.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh initially rose to propose an unlimited speaking time for the bill’s mover and equivalent time for the first respondent, with 45 minutes for each subsequent MP and for the mover in his wrap-up, all with no extensions.

The Speaker put the question. Lee rose to object.

He complained, “That is not the agreement we had with the Leader of Government Business. She had texted me, and the agreement was 45 (minutes) for mover and the first responder, and 30 minutes after. I have that in writing, Madam Speaker.”

Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George ruled, “In any event this is a matter being put to the vote. So it’s not…It is a motion that is being moved and put to the vote.”

She put the vote, then saying, “I think the ayes have it,” Opposition MPs voted against.

Robinson-Regis rose on a point of clarification, saying, “The member for Pointe-a-Pierre is misleading this House.”

Reading something on her cell-phone, she continued, “On Friday, the member (Lee) did ask and we did say it would be the usual 45 minutes. However, Madam Speaker, today it was determined that because we have returned to the normal way of doing debate, we would in fact use the time that is in the standing orders.

“And that was at seven o’clock on Friday, during the currency of the Standing Finance Committee.”