Minister Liburd reiterates 2013 Budget must be passed before debate on no confidence motion

Hon. Marcella Liburd

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 12TH 2013 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health, Social and Community Development and Gender Affairs, the Hon. Marcella Liburd is of the view that passage of the 2013 Budget in the National Assembly must come before debate of a Motion of No Confidence.

“The Motion of No Confidence is a constitutional construct. That is not something that comes from the people; the people don’t go out there and start a No Confidence Motion. It is constitutional construct by the Parliamentarians and it is a tool that can be used and is used and so as a Government we have to abide by the Constitution,” she said on “Issue” with Juni Liburd on Freedom 106.5 FM.

“Because that is the supreme law of the land and so the no confidence motion will be considered. However, the debate and the question at this particular point is, should it come before the budget?

***Erskine May – that is an author on Parliamentary Procedure – the ‘Bible’ on Parliamentary Procedures, under the section dealing with the No Confidence Motion, spoke about in terms of considering the hearing of it, you also have to look to the exigencies on the Governments Agenda. Exigencies as you know, is just urgent needs, urgent demands, and urgent matters. So we have to put in the context of any urgency that the Government have. I don’t know any urgency that is more important than making sure the Budget is passed, because right now the Budget has not been passed,” Ms. Liburd, a former Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly told listeners.

She told listeners of the implications if the budget is not passed?

“What would happen is – because you have a time frame, you have under the Finance Act, up to 4 four months of a year which would put it up to April, where you can spend tax payer’s money without a Budget.

That means that after that we won’t be able to pay public servants; you wouldn’t be able to pay anybody at all from Government coffers; you won’t be able to provide services at the hospitals, whatever they are, anything to finance, be it drugs, food etc.

You won’t be able to carry out your social services agenda with respect to the food packages and so on that we provide to those who are most vulnerable and so we strongly believe that the No Confidence Motion must be heard, but the Budget must be heard before so that the business of Government, and Government has nothing to do with who is in Government, but the business of Government because whoever is in Government public servants must be paid. And all these services must continue for the people,” said Ms. Liburd.

“So you have to look to this as the most critical and most important part of what we should be doing at this particular point in time. And so for us it is not we are not going to hear the No Confidence Motion, but it is whether it should come before the budget,” she said, reiterating:

“We think that the budget should be heard first, because of the nature of the budget and the limitations that you have on spending Government money that people wouldn’t be able to get paid after a specific point in time.”

***Erskine May is considered to be the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and British constitutional convention, the book has become part of the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom and as a result is sometimes called the “Parliamentary bible”, acting as a rule book for parliamentarians.[2] Since its first publication in 1844, the book has frequently been updated. The 24th edition was published on 30 June 2011. The work has been influential outside the United Kingdom, particularly in countries which use the Westminster system.

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