Friday, 08 June 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Opposition Member of Parliament Asot Michael was a busy little soldier bee in last Thursday’s sitting of the House of Assembly, as House Speak D. Gisele Isaac-Arindell confirms that the MP sought sidebars with her as well seeking to have government support in removing the Vote of No Confidence Motion from the day’s order paper.
She said Michael approached her as well as Attorney General Justin Simon seeking to make use of Standing Order 31, which seeks unanimous support for the withdrawal of the motion from the order paper.
The House Speaker said she does not buy the notion that the Opposition Leader did not know of the available option to pass on the leadership of the no confidence motion.
“I don't believe that he did not know. He did know,” Isaac-Arindell said. “I know that based on the discussions that I had with the member for St. Peter, who said he was approaching me on behalf of the opposition leader, he knew that he could have delegated the motion to somebody else.”
She noted also that she never got the indication that the opposition was at all convinced that the motion was going to go through.
“I really don't think they believed that it was going to carry. They don't have the numbers and even (with) the reactions of the member for St. Philips South, they still would not have the numbers … And I did not get the impression at any time that the opposition truly felt that this motion was going to carry. I think they were locked in second thoughts about the motion. That's what I think,” the House Speaker said.
Furthermore, she explained that the move not to present the motion was more of a conscious and direct decision on the part of the opposition leader, rather than having any bearing on health issues.
St. Peters MP Asot Michael was visibly active last Thursday having approached both the Speaker and the AG during the committee stage discussions for the Airport Tax Amendment bill. It was during this time that the MP based on the understanding of those he approached carried out the bidding of his party leader.
“They wanted to utilize Standing Order #31 which basically would have meant that the government would have to agree that the motion could be withdrawn,” the Speaker said.
She added that the MP’s early request to have the motion removed was rejected by the government majority.
“I said to Mr. Michael, no, we can't remove it at this point. The motion to amend the Order Paper would have had to be done much earlier in the sitting. It could not be removed from the Order Paper that way,” the Speaker said.
After the proposal was rejected, the Opposition Leader reportedly left the sitting. This was before the closure of the first session that ended around 2:00pm.
“Mr. Bird left after I had spoken to Mr. Michael and after the government had said that it would not agree to withdraw the motion under Standing Order #31,” she said.
Standing Order #31 also allows for the mover of the motion to designate someone else to carry the motion. This could have been done in writing before the motion was called.
It was further explained that the opposition had the option of using Standing Order #30, which means that the mover of the motion would simply sit in his/her seat when their name is called. This would automatically nullify the motion since it had no carrier and therefore could not be debated.
Attempts to reach MP Asot Michael for comments on the matter were unsuccessful.