House Meeting Postponed To Make Chamber Ready For COVID

And since there are no house meetings, there can be no approval of a supplementary appropriations which that would fund urgent COVID relief programs and repairs to infrastructure. This might make it tempting to follow the ways of the previous PUDP Administrations, spending from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and then seeking approval for that spending in the National Assembly after all the money's done.

But the Minister of Infrastructure Julius Espat - who brought the Supreme Court suit against the former Prime Minister Dean Barrow for doing just that - says his government is not going down that route, since, legally, they have three months to pass the supplementary budget.

He says they tried to pass it within 5 weeks of taking office - but COVID cancelled that operation:

Hon. Julius Espat, Minister, Infrastructure, Development, Housing
"The laws under the Finance and Audit gives you three months to be able to legally submit a supplementary. We tried to do it within a month and I think we're 99% there, the COVID situation made it a bit difficult to assemble in the house, the Speaker of the House and the National Assembly is trying to find a more adequate way of us following the rules and protocols of COVID but the decision was made also based on the fact that we're within the three months if we do it in January, we were elected the 11th of November but government really doesn't start until the day we are sworn in to parliament so we have three months within the law to be able to do a supplementary."

The next house meeting is expected to be held possibly in late January - when the chamber will be adjusted for maximum COVID safe distances.

Channel 7