Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley has expressed concern that his parliamentary questions posed to several ministers have gone unanswered.
He told the House of Assembly this afternoon of his frustration at having not received answers at all, or in some cases “accurate” answers.
His comments came during debate on a resolution to adopt the report of the House Standing Orders Committee, which would for the first time see ministers being questioned by fellow lawmakers and the Opposition Leader on the Estimates, when debate begins next week.
While the initiative was welcomed by all, Atherley said he was concerned that while he may ask questions during the process, he might not receive adequate answers.
Atherley said: “They have expressed the view that it is a wonderful opportunity for the Leader of the Opposition to get to ask questions of ministers. Repeatedly I have heard it said by many of those speakers that this is a wonderful opportunity for the Opposition’s voice to be able to ask questions in this House.
“I am reassured in hearing that today, because I was beginning to form the view that my questions asked in this House constituted a nuisance and were stirring a spirit of intolerance on the other side when those questions were raised, because I have raised several over the last several months and the responses coming at the time from those who chose to respond suggested that I could better otherwise have used the House’s time and my time.”
Atherley said he had previously asked Prime Minister Mia Mottley to disclose information regarding the Whiteoaks advisory group.
He said he had sought to find out what it was being paid to do and how much it was being paid by the Government.
“To date I have not been properly answered on that matter,” he said.
He recalled that he sought to find out from Attorney General Dale Marshall if any of Government’s financial or economic advisors were being paid in excess of $300 000 annually, but here again he drew a blank.
Atherley also pointed out that he had questioned whether there should be any fears of impending cuts in the public sector before the layoffs had occurred, only to be told that no such fears were necessary.
Hundreds of Barbadians were later sent home, Atherley told fellow lawmakers.
“So you may have a wonderful opportunity to ask questions, but it could very well be that questions are not answered, or that questions are not answered accurately,” Atherley said.