Saturday 29 February, 2020

No walk-out on Bunting in the House, says PNP leadership

Peter Bunting (file photo)

Peter Bunting (file photo)

The leadership of the People’s National Party (PNP) has moved to address reports circulating on social media, as well as in the traditional media, that members of the Opposition party walked out of the House of Representatives on Tuesday while Central Manchester Member of Parliament (MP), the PNP’s Peter Bunting, was making his contribution to the Sectoral debate.

Among those suggesting that internal PNP party politics seemed to have been heavily at play in the House on Tuesday, was PNP Councillor for the Trafalgar Division in St Andrew, Kari Douglas, who is backing Bunting in his challenge against PNP President, Dr Peter Phillips, for the presidency of the party.

Douglas was among persons who took to social media on Tuesday evening to highlight the perceived issue. In her post, she blasted some of her fellow Comrades for seemingly deserting or snubbing Bunting during his contribution to the debate.

While 17 Members of Parliament were absent from both sides of the isle when the House voted to extend the state of emergency (SOE) in South St Andrew until October 5, Phillips, along with several PNP MPs who have publicly thrown their support behind him in the presidential race, were noticeably absent when Bunting later made his sectoral presentation.

In her social media post in all caps, Douglas said: “PNP parliamentarians deliberately left Gordon House empty before Bunting’s presentation”.

Douglas declared that the perceived move was “shameful and reprehensible”.

However, the leadership of the PNP is pushing back, “categorically denying” in a news release on Wednesday, that there was any walk-out of the parliamentary sitting.

The release said the sitting of the House started at approximately 3:00 p.m., an hour later than scheduled.

It added that the debate on the state of emergency went on for three hours, and ended after 6:00 p.m.

“In addition, Minister Daryl Vaz made an intervention lasting one hour before the presentation by Peter Bunting as Shadow Minister of Industry, Commerce and Competitiveness, which started at 7:00 p.m.,” the release said.

It declared that: “There is a mischievous allegation circulating, mainly on social media, but also carried in the mainstream media, that parliamentarians walked out before Peter Bunting rose to make his presentation in the 2018-2019 Sectoral Debate.

“This allegation is false. There was no walkout of parliamentarians before or during the presentation of Peter Bunting.

“The evidence does not support the allegation that ‘PNP parliamentarians deliberately left Gordon House empty before Bunting’s presentation.

“This is simply an attempt at mischief, where none is needed,” the release added.

It continued that there was nothing unusual about the low turnout of parliamentarians during sectoral debate presentations, “especially when for whatever reason, those presentations are delayed until late evening when other commitments have to be fulfilled.”

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