Opposition MP’s walk out of Parliament


REAL NEWS:NMP Jamale Pringle led a walk-out of his United Progressive Party colleagues from the Lower House of Parliament, this morning, protesting the disregard and disrespect meted out by the House Speaker and the Government Bench.

“We are not starting the session on this note,” Pringle declared to REAL News, following his side’s exit.  “This is the first sitting and it is   too early for the Government to be going down this road.”

The road to which the Leader of the Opposition refers is the Gaston Browne Administration’s practice of suspending the Standing Orders requiring notice and forcing through all three readings of a Bill in a single sitting.

Pringle and Barbuda MP Trevor Walker – who were the only members on the Opposition Bench in the last parliamentary term – have been protesting this practice for years, and even the House Speaker, Sir Gerald Watt, himself, had objected to it.

In this particular instance, Browne, the Member for City West, asked that the House suspend the Standing Orders since there was a matter of urgent public importance.  He then moved a motion to have an amendment to the Port Authority Act go through all three readings immediately.

Pringle stood on a point of order, noting that the requirements for notice had not been met – and given the fact that the Bill touched on matters related to maritime law, the Opposition Bench was asking for time to caucus and consult its legal counsel.

Instead of replying to MP Pringle, however, Sir Gerald allowed the City South MP, Steadroy Benjamin, to respond, and then MP Sir Molwyn Joseph, the St. Mary’s North representative, to chime in with a point of elucidation.

Following these interventions, Browne, the mover of the Bill, resumed his introduction of the Amendment.

Only when Pringle appealed to the Speaker again did Watt respond to his point of order.  Sir Gerald then reiterated what Benjamin had said – minus his English history lesson – and said he would allow the matter to continue.

At that point, Pringle gathered up his papers and, followed by his colleagues, left the Chamber, as MP Browne mocked them.

The Barbuda MP and the Independent Member of the Opposition were not present at the time.

The matter at hand has to do with the Administration’s plans to sell the Alfa Nero, a yacht reportedly owned by a Russian oligarch, which had been detained for months in Antigua and Barbuda’s waters.

According to a March 2022 article in  Forbes, the Alfa Nero – a 269-foot super yacht valued at US$81 million – was owned by Andrei Guriev, said to be a Russian oligarch.  The Browne Administration is planning to retain the proceeds of its sale.

Based on today’s Cabinet Notes, it was only yesterday, March 15, that “three lawyers from the Legal Affairs Division [were invited] to reflect on an amended law governing the Antigua Port Authority.

“The amendment will make clear the ability of the Government to sell by auction a vessel that appears sanctioned, or falls under the Proceeds of Crime Act,” the Notes say.

As Pringle underscored to REAL News, the yacht has been detained in local waters for more than a year.  In all that time, he asks, did the Government Bench not consider the legal ramifications and investigate what was needed to facilitate the sale.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet claims the Alfa Nero “poses a threat to other vessels and to the harbour where it is moored.”

Local observers believe the rush to amend the Port Authority Act stems less from environment and safety concerns and more from the fact that the United States has put the Browne Administration under heightened scrutiny for allowing nationals of Russia and Belarus to apply for citizenship under its CIP.

Others say that Finance Minister Browne is “desperate to get his hands on the money” the yacht’s sale would bring his government – much like the windfall it received from the Lazarenko matter.

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  1. Realistically, the Government approach to these matters must change. Granted, it might be an urgent situation but the Government should have involved and included the opposition in talks about this matter before bringing it to Parliament. The winner take all approach to everything is damaging our country. We need inclusive Governance where Government, Independents and Opposition can work together in the national interest. If there is no dialogue outside of Parliamentary sessions, we are bound to see many more of these walkouts. This doesn’t serve the citizenry well and makes a mockery of Parliament.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective. The Prime Minister should be reprimanded by the speaker of the house for the behavior he has been displaying, but it is being swept under the carpet while he cautions other Members of Parliament.

    • UPP Opposition in Parliament displaying that They are INCAPABLE. This is just a start of Persons without CAPACITY.

      • @ JB

        I guess when the then opposition walked out of parliament, including Gaston and Cutie they were PERSONS WITHOUT CAPACITY TOO…….BIG USEFUL IDIOT 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  2. Today confirmed that RICHARD LEWIS has the support of the UPP MPs.

    Pringle got up and left, but the others didn’t move.

    Some moments later they took their cue from Richard Lewis and then exited.

    Convention in June
    Stay tuned……

    • Antigua in shambles that’s all you can talk about? Odebrecht is not going away for sure so you might have something of importance to consider.

  3. UPP Opposition in Parliament displaying that They are INCAPABLE. This is just a start of Persons without CAPACITY.

    • @JB

      I guess when the then opposition walked out of parliament, including Gaston and Cutie they were PERSONS WITHOUT CAPACITY TOO…….BIG USEFUL IDIOT 🤣🤣

  4. Well written article! It explains the reasons for the walkout very well. I see several so called ‘sensible’ persons asking why the opposition walked out like they never saw Gaston walk out when he was in opposition. They were utterly silent then. Hmmmmmm.

  5. @JB
    The opposition is quite capable but Gaston wants to run the government like there is no opposition in parliament. His government wants to do what they want by bypassing debate using the suspension of the standing orders, and the Speaker of the house seems to be abetting them. I am sure the he knows the law, but then maybe he is loosing it or just biased.
    What is the public importance except the government wants to take the money. The yacht has been docked for over a year, so why try to fool the people about ‘public importance’. You small fries should be carefully. Taking a yacht that is allegedly owned by a Russian oligarch and pocketing the proceeds may not go down well with the Russian mafia.
    I listened to call ins on another radio station and it appears to me that the same people who call in every day did not attend secondary school. They sound so dumb but then secondary schools were not free in their day. Hopefully their children will have more sense and ignorance is not an inherited trait. These labour people are so bad minded and envious that all they can talk about is the $7,500 Shuggy is paid monthly.
    I am sure I heard the PM talk about an ex UPP member of parliament and how sorry he felt for him that he gave him a job.
    I am also sure I heard the PM say that the former MP wasted all his money on women and cars instead of investing it and now he has nothing. This former MP is now talking crap on their radio station. If he so lacks intellectual capacity I agree with the constituents to vote him out. But then he probably doesn’t believe a word he says and is just singing for his supper.

  6. Thank you, Opposition Members of Parliament for walking out of that HELL OF A PARLIAMENT. How could they in their “cotton picking minds” give you an article to be debated today,this morning. That is what you should do if it should ever happens again,walk to hell out. The Parliament is like a Circus and the people are the animals and clowns. The Speaker behaves with a profound bias towards the Opposition Members. He is the tenth Member of Parliament on the Government side of the Aisle. He behaves as if Parliament is like a Plantation. He is of a lighter complexion. That is exactly how they behaved when I lived in Antigua. That place is filled with CLASSISM. Heaven help us ALL.

  7. Gaston Browne embarrassing Antigua & Barbuda again, and at the other end of the political scale, the Honourable Mia Mottley commands respect from the opposition, the Caribbean region and world leaders.

    Here’s the proof on YouTube:

    “Barbados PM Mia Mottley set a reporter straight in 2 minutes …”

    Chalk and cheese come to mind when it comes to comparisons. Poor we!

  8. @Brix wonder what you would have said had it been Gaston that had set them straight. I can just imagine you berating him.

  9. The Honorable Richard Lewis is no doubt a better choice for the opposition Leader he is assertive and calm a very good debator and highly intelligent if this ignorance continue he would not follow down the path of political suicide and not save his reputation what we are seeing is intolerable and vexing our PM always sought out the best and he fits the ALBM mould .

  10. The Hon Pringle is proving his intellect while some cannot even spell it. It’s so easy to criticize but they couldn’t hold their own in the Lion’s Den (parliament) like the Hon Pringle did. In the midst of bullies and intimidators, he continues to hold his head high!

  11. The labour government is corrupt and they surround themselves with corrupt people like themselves. If you are not corrupt when you joint them, you certainly will be with time. Then once you are corrupted you lose your independence just like in the mafia. You do what the the big Man tells you or else your corruption is exposed. Not even lawyers in bed with the government are exempted. Antigua is in a poor state and will be until we come to our senses and get rid of the one with the big man mentality.

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