Lawmakers have given government’s nearly $1.5 billion spending plan for the next two years the green light to move to the next stage.
This as the budget now shifts to the Finance Committee which is set to begin Wednesday morning 9:30am in the Legislative Assembly.
Legislators voted in favour of the fiscal package for the 2020/2021 budget period Monday night in the House.
The debate ended in some confusion.
House Speaker McKeeva Bush called three times for members to speak and no one responded, prompting Premier Alden McLaughlin to begin his closing speech in the debate.
Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was the lone government member left to speak as Health Minister Dwayne Seymour concluded his speech before the dinner break.
When the House resumed, George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan appealed for an opportunity to make his contribution. He said he was under the impression the finance minister would have closed the debate.
Bryan beseeched the House Speaker to allow him to speak.
However, Bush said the premier was already wrapping up the debate.
McLaughlin pointed out the same, adding that the younger members of the House were engaging in “tactical” moves waiting out the government members and he was prompted to wrap up before he was ready.
The premier, in his closing, dismissed Opposition Leader Arden McLean’s claim that the government had presented an election budget.
He also said there was movement on the constitutional changes and, given the time sensitivity with the UK general elections on the horizon, he wanted to bring the bill for the reform at the end of Finance Committee.
At the end of his speech, the premier called for a division and all members present voted in favour of the budget.
The vote ended 15 in favour and three absent.
Bodden Town West MLA Chris Saunders did not speak in the debate.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s newspaper.