Some members of the Opposition are not only disappointed but almost furious that the government triumphed on Thursday during a vote for the approval of provisions for works on the controversial Specialty Hospital.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s Leader, David Granger, has announced that he will launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the absence of Volda Lawrence during the vote.
Thursday’s sitting was unique. Thirty-two members sat on both sides of the House. The Opposition’s one seat majority had disappeared because Deputy Speaker, Deborah Backer, was absent.
The Opposition was having its way on each call of division until the House voted on Provisions for the hospital. It was here that the government had the majority since Lawrence was absent at the time.
As the rules mandate, the bell rang to alert all members outside that voting was about to take place, but Lawrence did not return to her seat.
While members on the government’s side rejoiced, APNU’s Amna Ali bowed her head and left the chambers in search of Lawrence.
Lawrence returned to her seat about 15 minutes after the vote but remained silent on two other votes.
At a press conference, yesterday, at the Office of the APNU leader on Hadfield Street, Granger disclosed that he would not be pronouncing on the implications with regard to her silence as the investigation would have to clearly determine the reasons for her absence in the first place.
Granger also deemed the fact that Lawrence did not inform the other members of her party about why she was leaving, as a “mere breakdown in communication.”
The Brigadier said, “My information was that in the first instance Ms. Lawrence left the chambers because she was not well. And as you would know, two other Members of Parliament went to assist her. One actually came back and asked for some medication which she had in her bag and took it over to her.
“I was told last night that she was not well and I inquired about her condition and when she came back and she sat in her chair she was obviously distraught. I heard no sound from her and while I wouldn’t use the word abstain; I heard no sound from her when other votes were taken.”
“This matter has to be investigated. I haven’t been able to meet with her or speak with her as yet, (but) at present, we feel there might be a case for her.”
The politician also informed members of the media corps that the Shadow Cabinet had met earlier on Thursday and took decisions on the vote affecting the Specialty Hospital. “Our positions were clear and it was quite evident that we voted together.”
However, when asked why Ms. Lawrence returned to the Assembly if she claimed that she was truly unwell, Granger said, “I don’t have all the answers.”
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