THE UNC has claimed the cut in MPs’ speaking time in Parliament during the covid19 pandemic was a move to stifle the voice of the Opposition, and that the Government failed to answer its questions properly. MPs can now talk for 20 minutes, down from a previous time of 30 minutes and an optional 15-minute extension.
In a statement, the party vowed to continue to fight for the burdened population despite Government’s actions. “While the Government brings bills to the Parliament that are not urgent and are of dubious value, and again extended the time for ministerial and prime pinisterial statements, members of the Opposition are being stymied in their efforts to raise the issues that concern people.
“In spite of this, the Opposition continued to fight for the thousands of citizens who are faced with increased burdens and economic hardship as a result of the covid19 crisis.”
The UNC said on Monday it had used all possible parliamentary mechanisms to demand answers on the Government’s plans and spending.
“In an effort to seek clarity and accountability,” it said, “Opposition MPs submitted 18 urgent questions. These centred on the rate of testing of citizens, pandemic leave, steps to reopen the economy, food cards and other relief for the vulnerable, support for small businesses and support for students.
It said only five urgent questions were allowed. However, it said, “the Opposition was able to expose the Government’s total absence of any plan to alleviate the suffering facing people and their incompetence and ineffectiveness in providing help to citizens so that they can deal with the impact of the current crisis.”
The UNC lamented the rejection of calls by its MPs to adjourn the House to discuss definite matters of urgent public importance on economic recovery, education, and claims of fuel sent indirectly from TT to Venezuela.
“It was quite unfortunate that none of the three matters was allowed, further contributing to the prevailing uncertainty.”
Most detrimental, the UNC said, was the refusal to debate the Government’s alleged inability to provide for the continued education of students at all levels.
The UNC said from the very start of the pandemic it had filed matters on the adjournment to call out the Government’s failure to be proactive to prevent the destructive repercussions occurring today.
“The crisis facing citizens who are going without food, losing hope and having their way of life destroyed is dangerous to the future of our nation.
“The UNC will continue to fight and utilise all parliamentary mechanisms to ensure that the best interests of our citizens are served.”