OPPOSITION LEADER: “I AM THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE”

anguillian
By anguillian June 12, 2017 13:56

 

 

 

Leader of the Opposition in the Anguilla House of Assembly, Ms. Palmavon Webster, says she wants to make it clear to everyone that she is “the voice of the people”. She stressed that she should therefore have the right to be heard and respected, and her views ought to be clearly articulated and fairly reported on by the local media.
Speaking at a press conference she called on June 2, the Opposition Leader referred to an incident at the Official Parade at the Ronald Webster Park on Anguilla Day, May 30. It was when she was booed by a section of the crowd while delivering her address and referring to the banking situation and a letter she received from Mr. Etienne Gumbs, one of the organisers of a silent demonstration on the outskirts of the park. Those who made the disturbance were complaining that it was not the time or place for the Opposition Leader’s comments.

“I thought it was very important in light of developments which I think were incredibly significant in our evolution, since the Revolution, in a reasonably responsible parliamentary democracy, to comment on these occurrences and incidents,” Ms. Webster stated. “The first concern I want to share with you is linked to the role of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. It is a very, very important role in the context of a parliamentary democracy such as ours.

“What happened on the park challenges, I think, what all our young people are going to view as appropriate behaviour on the part of leaders. I sought to address an issue, a concern, which had been raised by many Anguillians and, in fact, it has been a salient discussion of the week leading up to 30th May – and that discussion had to do with the protest.
“Publicly, I said that I was going to lend my support to the organiser of that protest (for want of a better word) on the premise that it was going to be entirely peaceful). As an organiser of change, it was very important for me to achieve the assurance that it was going to be a peaceful protest and in line with the framework of our constitution and the pertinent law relating to the right to assemble. I was absolutely satisfied that that was going to be the case.”

The Opposition Leader said as she began to mention the banking resolution (a matter contained in Mr. Gumbs’ letter), “there were such sounds of disrespect and, so much so, that I understand one of the young parliamentarians has written to the Chief Minister to complain as to how he dealt with that disrespect targeted at me during that speech.” She opined: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I was in fact touched by the fact that the protest – or the demonstration, the association, or the assembly or whatever you choose to call it was entirely peaceful.”

Ms. Webster expressed her belief that the press should “be responsible and not shy away from reporting what has actually happened.” She went on: “I also want to leave this with the press that the Office of Leader of Opposition is so important that, through this briefing, I want to remind you that I am a voice for every Anguillian. In our system of democracy, the Office of Leader of Opposition is such that it is absolutely critical to scrutinise the actions of Government, and when we fail through opposition or through the press, then democracy is undermined.”

The Opposition Leader was accompanied by Rev. Clifton Niles who is one of the participants in the “Mayor Show” on Kool FM 103.3 in which Ms. Webster occasionally appears. “I shared in both events,” he told the media representatives. “I was in at the park and at one stage I went outside and joined the protest because I thought what was happening in the celebration, and what was happening in the protest were two sides of the Anguillian reality. My own perspective is that with these two sides of the Anguillian reality I should share in both. We need to be respectful of those who celebrated and those who protested.”
Rev. Niles added: “I certainly appreciate the fact that the organisers of the protest ensured that it was peaceful, and the people who participated in the protest were peaceful. They need to be congratulated. I also shared in the celebration on the park because there where we are in Anguilla at the moment. ..There are those who have cause to rejoice and there are things we can celebrate in terms of the development and the progress which has been made over the last fifty years, but we also recognise that all is not well at present. I thought the protest and the celebration demonstrated that adequately.”

anguillian
By anguillian June 12, 2017 13:56

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