Jamaica: EPA debate sparks Opposition walkout of Parliament

Radio Jamaica | Wednesday, 03 September 2008

EPA debate sparks Opposition walkout of Parliament

A marathon debate on the contentious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Bill ended in disarray Tuesday night after Members of the Opposition walked out of Parliament.

Opposition members including Portia Simpson-Miller and Dr. Peter Phillips left the sitting after a row developed over a clause in the Bill.

The members raised objection to the clause and requested that it be amended but members on the Government side of the House rejected the suggestion.

Opposition Member of Parliament Roger Clarke said his colleagues then decided that they would not participate any further in the sitting.

"The Government side acquiesced to that request and therefore we walked out.

We thought the government could have delayed a little to see what more we could have wrung out of the agreement," he said.

Government Member Karl Samuda, however, expressed surprise at the walk out and chided the Opposition for what he called its sour grapes response after it was overruled on the matter of the contentious clause.

"The Opposition moved an amendment to the resolution which was defeated and at the end of the defeat, they walked out," he said.

According to Mr. Samuda, the Oppositions walkout was the first of its kind in almost 30 years but it failed to prevent the passage of the Bill which was done before the end of the sitting.

source: Radio Jamaica