Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) came to an abrupt halt today, October 11, after Speaker Hon. Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe was forced to call a recess due to tempers flaring and a war of words over the proposed amended Recovery and Development Plan.
The tension began when Opposition Leader, Hon. Andrew Fahie objected to the approval of the Plan, telling the House that it should not be passed until after the next election when a new government is elected.
“I am being asked to approve something that I feel that the Government in the late stage with couple months left for elections does not have the mandate to give the people,” he stated.
He went on to state that he is unclear about certain implications of the Plan, and believes that there needs to be more discussion.
“The question I am asking is if this will bind the future Government? This is more than recovery…I am seeing the airport [expansion project] in here, whether it is to go or not, it is in here. I am seeing things in here that while I want to help my country to recovery…I am seeing things that go into development,” he stated.
The Opposition Leader also pointed out that Members were only provided with the amended plan this morning before the sitting commenced.
In response, Minister of Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool lashed out, calling on the opposition to cease the politicisation of the Plan.
“…The comment that I have heard that a Development Plan for the territory should not come just before an election…come on! What are we trying to say? That a Government doesn’t have a responsibility to put together a development plan for the country because it’s just before an election?”
He declared that the Plan is for the good and development of people in the territory, and “we need to get on with getting this country recovered and developed.”
“We must continue to play stalling games and play political games when we can get on with this country being developed?”
According to Hon. Vanterpool, the much needed funding cannot be accessed without the approval of the plan, and the stalling to the plan for the sake of politicisation needs to end.
His ire soon grew at the calls for the Recovery Plan to be stalled, as he reminded that the monies are needed to address development complaints that are made by the Opposition.
This led to an exchange of words between Hon. Vanterpool and Third District Representative Hon. Julian Fraser, which escalated with voices being raised and tempers flaring.
On that note, the Speaker intervened, calling on the Hon. Vanterpool to retake his seat several times. However, as a result of the tension she called a recess until Wednesday, October 17. “This is an opportune time. Tempers are flaring. We are going to recess the House,” she informed.