Parliament watchers of more than just a few years would not have been overly shocked or surprised at the outcome of last week’s debate on the Anti-Gang Bill 2017.
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PNM MP allowed to raise oil spill issue in House
In a rare move, La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey was yesterday granted leave to move the adjournment of the House to discuss the major oil spill on the south-western peninsula, which he deemed a matter of urgent public importance. MPs who request such leave are often told the matter does not fall under Standing Order 12 and to file it under a different one. However, Speaker Wade Mark agreed the oil spill satisfied the three criteria under Standing Order 12.
He asked MPs if they were prepared to grant leave to discuss the matter and they said yes. Mark said the oil spill was to be debated between 6 pm and 7 pm yesterday evening. In seeking leave, Jeffrey wanted the House to discuss the failure of the Government to adequately address the “very serious effects of the huge oil spill.” He said many residents of La Brea were falling ill owing to strong hydrocarbon gases and noted the spill had not been fully contained since it began on December 17, last year.
He said the livelihoods of many were affected and they have been experiencing tremendous trauma. The cause of the spill has not been determined as yet and residents have not been informed if it was dissipated, Jeffrey said. The spills, 11 of them, have adversely affected flora and fauna on the southwest coast as well. State-owned oil and gas company Petrotrin said two of the spills came from their wells and are yet to ascertain the source of the others.