Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie will miss the presentation of the 2017/2018 Budget in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Cuffie, the La Horquetta/Talparo MP, will also miss the subsequent Budget debate in the House and the sitting of the House’s Standing Finance Committee later next month. At yesterday’s non-ceremonial opening of the new parliamentary session at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George informed MPs that Cuffie was granted leave from the House from yesterday to November 1.
By law, the Budget must be passed in the House and Senate before October 31. After the Budget debate concludes in both Houses of Parliament, the House’s Standing Finance Committee has a maximum of five days to examine the Budget’s figures.
Cuffie has been recuperating at the St Clair Medical Centre since experiencing a medical episode last month. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said Cuffie’s family had requested privacy while he recuperated. Rowley also said the Office of the Prime Minister would oversee the administrative functions of Cuffie’s ministry in the interim.
Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster Roy and Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial were also granted leave from yesterday’s sitting. During the sitting, the House supported motions moved by Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis for the the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill and the Cybercrime Bill to be referred to separate Joint Select Committees (JSCs).
These committees were directed to adopt the work of the previous JSCs on these bills and report back to Parliament by March 31, 2018. A total of 11 papers and three committee reports were laid in the House prior to its adjournment at 1.45 pm.