Sunday 7 June, 2020

Samuda chastises Opposition PNP for total absence from House sitting

Karl Samuda (file photo)

Karl Samuda (file photo)

Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Karl Samuda, has chastised the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) for its members not turning up at Tuesday’s sitting of the House.

While parliamentary sittings are routinely scheduled to start at 2 pm, Tuesday’s sitting did not get under way until 4.15 pm, and when it did, all the Opposition benches were empty.

Samuda acknowledged that a decision had previously been taken not to conduct a sitting of the House on March 31, to limit the exposure of parliamentarians as the country battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic locally.

However, Samuda also said on Monday he communicated with the Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Dr Morais Guy, indicating that based on the latest developments, Prime Minister Andrew Holness would have been making a statement in Parliament in relation to COVID-19.

Dr Morais Guy

“I was told that not a single member of the Opposition found it possible to be present today,” Samuda stated.

“I hope Jamaicans are looking on and will judge for themselves."

For his part, the prime minister said: “All Members of Parliament are on standby, whether in normal times or times of emergency”.

Holness said he would rather have parliamentarians stay at home in order not to expose anyone to COVID-19. However, he said the Government is caught in a “very difficult balancing act” as it tries to keep the economy going while focusing on the public health crisis to ensure that Jamaicans are generally safe from the virus.

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