YESTERDAY MARKED the start of debate on the 2016-2017 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the House of Assembly.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, who led off debate in the Lower Chamber, billed it as the single most important exercise in the parliamentary calendar. But, judging from the very poor turnout in the Public Gallery, it was evident that public interest in the event has waned over the years. There were fewer than five people witnessing the presentation, which is now broadcast on radio and can be viewed on the television stream from Parliament.
The courtyard of Parliament was empty moments before the official 10 a.m. start, with Independent Member of Parliament for St Peter and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur being one of the first to arrive. He was followed closely by now independent MP for Christ Church West, Dr Maria Agard, who was expelled from the Barbados Labour Party last year. She was the only member who garnered public support, as while making her way into Parliament a supporter pinned a corsage on her.
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