Mere minutes before the bout, Opposition MP Bradley Felix said the Opposition had no real qualms with the motions being tabled before the House. “Very straightforward Bills are being presented today. I don’t expect much of the back-and-forth today, because most of what is being presented, I don’t think the Opposition has a direct difference…” Felix had said.
However, by the time the session started, Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet cited issues with the period of time in which the barrel concessions had been giving; a timeframe which has been in existence even during his administration.
As the debate ensued, the MP for Micoud South would then stand on Point of Order, claiming the Prime Minister was “misleading the house”.
“The [Prime Minister] is misleading the House. He is saying there was a lease of a thousand acres - or he’s giving an impression that there was a lease of a thousand acres,” Chastanet said.
House Speaker Francis: “No, [the Prime Minister] never said that. The qualifying word was “most of which,” Francis clarified; Chastanet did not sit down.
Prime Minister Pierre had made mention of the former administration’s lease agreement with Desert Start Holdings, where “one thousand acres” of land was leased at US $1 an acre. Chastanet had taken issue with the number of acres, arguing that the amount was not a thousand acres.
Chastanet continued standing, juggling both the Prime Minister and the House Speaker. That was until House Speaker Francis said, “Members of GIS (Government Information Service), under the Standing Orders, I do have the authority to ask you to turn off your cameras while I’m about to do what I have to do.”
It was only then, at the threat of his outrage not being publicised, that Chastanet sat down.