The Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly regrets to inform the people of Montserrat that the Assembly will not have its scheduled sitting in March.
The Financial Secretary has brought to the attention of the Speaker that it has become necessary for the Executive Branch of the Government to postpone the presentation of the Budget Appropriation Bill 2017 – 2018.
The March Sitting of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly is usually focused almost entirely around the Budget Speech from the Leader of Government Business, and the ensuing Parliamentary debate. It is normally divided into a couple of parts, the first being a sitting which lasts a couple of hours or so and is adjourned immediately after the Budget Speech is made.
The second part of the Sitting is scheduled to begin four or five days later and results in the passing of the Budget for the upcoming year, after intense debate in Committee of the Whole House. The convention is that all other business is either completed before March or deferred until after the presentation and debate of the Budget.
A release from the Office of the Premier said it had become necessary to postpone the tabling of the Budget Appropriation Bill due to a change in UK Ministerial responsibility, which has caused a delay in the approval of Montserrat’s Financial Aid Business Case by the UK Minister.
To allow spending to continue in 2017/18 Fiscal Year, the Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo, Minister for Finance, on Thursday, March 16 authorized “funds through the Consolidated Fund to allow Government spending to continue until the passing of the Appropriation Act in April.
“This authorization will be effected through a Provisional General Warrant, addressed to the Accountant General by the Minister of Finance,” according to the statement.
The Premier is now scheduled to present his 2017-2018 Budget Speech at 4:30 p.m. on April 13th in the auditorium of the Cultural Centre, the Legislative Assembly will adjourn and reconvene at 9:00 a.m. on April 18th, to debate the Bill and any outstanding Bills, Resolutions or Other Business.
The Speaker reiterated her standing invitation to the people of Montserrat to attend sittings of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly and experience the business of their government in person. She invites residents and citizens of all ages and persuasions to feel free to contact her Office with any related concerns, ideas or suggestions and reminds everyone that the increased engagement and participation of the citizens is critical to the processes of governing of Montserrat, to democracy and transparency, and for the right development of our island and peoples.
The Speaker looks forward to full attendance at the upcoming sittings of the Legislative Assembly of Montserrat.
Sittings of the Assembly are regularly scheduled on the fourth Tuesday and Wednesday of each month, throughout the Parliamentary year which runs from September to July, and debates are held if there is business to be attended to and there is a quorum of the Honourable Members.