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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Speaker vexed at Holy Spirit uproar

House Speaker Brigid Annisette-George.
House Speaker Brigid Annisette-George.

CUMUTO/MANZANILLA MP Christine Newallo-Newallo-Hosein’s quiet claim about God’s spirit at work evoked loud derision from government MPs in the House of Representatives, who were in turn chastened by an upset Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George.

Newallo-Hosein, in her recent budget contribution, recalled helping a desperate young man get off the streets, and how it had all led her to revelations on the controversial Transformed Life Ministry in Arouca, which was recently found to have caged confinement cells.

“I looked at it and, Madam Speaker, I don’t know what it was, but I have to say it was probably the Holy Spirit, you know.”

At that, several government MPs erupted in an explosion of jeers, some pounding their desks at length to mock Newallo-Hosein.

The Speaker rose. “That kind of outburst does not fit the decorum of this House,” she said sternly. looking at the government benches. “I’ll ask members to exercise some kind of control.”

She said MPs were free to take a walk to the water cooler outside to cool off.

“Madam Speaker, I’m so glad the nation at large can see the lack of compassion,” Newallo-Hosein softly said. “But as I said, I really believe it was the Holy Spirit.

“I said, ‘Son, where do you live?’. He said, ‘I’m homeless.’”

She related her shock at this disclosure, after which she fed the young man and took steps to get him off the street, approaching the Ministry of Social Development for help. Her effort in turn led to a surprising revelation about the Arouca ministry, recently raided by the police, who were upset at the finding areas for those patients deemed uncontrollable.

Newallo-Hosein said, “The ministry had indicated that they had transferred this home in Arouca to the Ministry of Health."

Government MPs challenged her remark, but she dug in her heels.

“I was on the phone right here using the minister’s phone, speaking, and they were indicating to me that the home in Arouca is transferred to the Ministry of Health. So I’m clearing that up right now.”

Amid irate murmurings, she said the Government could try to deny that, but she knew the conversation she had held.

Newallo-Hosein, a former social development minister, then lamented the Government had not adopted a plan housed in the ministry to rehabilitate street dwellers.

She said some constituents had complained their food cards had been cancelled after they had received a $200 increase in their public assistance grant.

She accused the Government of doing nothing for social services in its four years, in contrast to the former People’s Partnership administration. She listed her rural constituents’ concerns as a lack of budget investment in agriculture such as access roads, a poor water supply including a lack of pumps and water trucks, and restrictive social grants. They were very concerned about land tenure, no compensation for the 2018 floods and the non-prioritisation of food security.

“This Government speaks with passion about caring for the people. but they certainly lack compassion,” Newallo-Hosein alleged.

In contrast, her government had given a baby grant and help to mothers of children with cerebral palsy.

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