ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Molwyn Joseph has expressed regret over the breakdown in communication among Antigua Labour Party (ALP) parliamentarians, which caused a no confidence motion to fizzle in Parliament last week.
Leader of the ALP Lester Bird, who submitted the motion in April, was expected to get the debate started when the matter came up on Wednesday, last week.
However, he fell ill after a lengthy morning session in Parliament and failed to return in the afternoon to start the debate. More importantly, he failed to pass on the responsibility to one of his colleagues, who could have pursued the motion under Standing Order 31. The rules governing the motion disallow deferral of the matter.
“Unfortunately, the leader took sick. The matter was not heard, it was aborted,” Joseph said on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues programme yesterday.
“The only regret is that there wasn’t the attempt made to get a substitution to raise the motion in Parliament, which is allowed under our Standing Orders of Parliament.
“That should have been done and if that had been done, we would have heard, to me, a robust debate of serious issues facing Antigua & Barbuda, even without the presence of Lester Bird and Cabinet member Willmoth Daniel,” the MP added.
Joseph is the first MP to criticise the fact that no substitute was identified.
He however, expressed confidence that some ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) MPs would have been convinced of corruption when presented with the “preponderance” of evidence the ALP has acquired.
“I believe that if we had the opportunity to present the case, many of the other members on the other side would have been persuaded, even if they did not vote for the no confidence motion and then they would have had to face their constituents,” Joseph said.
“I was confident, knowing those men (junior minister) Chanlah Codrington and Minister Eleston “Namba” Adams, and some others, that when they would have seen the presentation of the evidence, they would have had difficulty in voting against that vote of no confidence.”
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)