The sitting has been adjourned until Tuesday 29th January, 2013, at which time at least three other parliamentarians are expected to make their presentations before Attorney General, in whose name the Bill resides, makes his closing statements, before the Bill is put to the much awaited vote.
It was however a long day of presentations packed with passionate pleas from both sides; the government and opposition. The government appears to be sticking to its guns that its actions to increase the number of senators from 3 to 6 are justified. However the opposition worked hard in their debate to punch holes in the arguments advanced by the “ruling benches”.
The main theme throughout from opposition members focused on the untimely introduction of more government expenditure, given the harsh financial strain being experienced by the people in the country.
The rationale that the senators are needed because the workload of government ministers has increased was rejected by the opposition who pointed out that since the prime minister claims that the three extra senators will not be made ministers of government, it is not possible for them to ease the burden of ministers by sharing or assuming some of the responsibilities.
Senators who are not members of Cabinet (do not have a ministry or ministries), are usually persons who continue to work either in the public or private sector in their regular jobs, attending parliament only to participate in the debates.
Following Tuesday night’s debate, it was difficult not to be riveted by the presentations of two top government ministers, Sam Condor and Dr. Timothy Harris, who both spoke out against the Bill being brought to the Assembly by their own government.
In a passionate defence of his loyalty to the Labour Party and the Labour Movement, Condor, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, and Deputy Leader of the party, chastised anyone who has attempted to question his devotion to the cause of labour as espoused by Robert Bradshaw, Paul Southwell and Joseph N France.
He reminded his audience within and without the Assembly that he has been a staunch Labourite since his youth and he has followed in the footsteps of his mother, who in her own right, was a champion of that shared cause of labour back in the 1970s.
Condor must have been close to tears when he spoke so eloquently and passionately about his mother; relating how in the 1975 elections, though on her sick bed, and against the advice of doctors and her family, she insisted on being taken to the polls to vote for Robert Bradshaw.
Her argument was, explained Condor, that she was voting not only for her, but her children and grandchildren, including those unborn.
The Deputy Prime Minister and until recently, Leader of government business in the Assembly, indicated however that he cannot support the proposed Bill because the reasons being advanced for its introduction are unacceptable and faulty. He said the country cannot afford such unwarranted expense at a time of great financial difficulty.
When the sitting resumes on 29th January, presentations are to be expected from Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Mark Brantley and Member for Number 4, Glenn Phillip.