GRENADA-POLITICS-Opposition legislators stage walkout during debate on incentive bill

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jun 27, CMC – Opposition legislators staged a walkout on Tuesday protesting the ruling by the President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey, that the presentation of the leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Nazim Burke to the Hydrocarbon Incentive Bill was irrelevant.
Opposition Senator, Keith Clouden who represents farmers in the Upper House of Parliament, joined Burke and the other NDC legislator in walking out of the Chamber.
NDC leader Nazim Burke (center) flanked by opposition Senators who walked out on Tuesday (CMC Photo)
The walkout followed the decision by Humphrey to accept the “point of relevance” concern raised by the Leader of Government Business, Simon Stielle, on the grounds that Burke’s contribution was not relevant to the legislation.
Burke, however argued against the move but Humphrey said he was in agreement with Stielle that the contribution was not relevant to which Burke responded by saying he will say nothing further on the Bill.
“If you have nothing to say take your seat,’ Humphrey told the NDC leader, who then proceeded to pack his bag and walk out of the Chamber followed by the NDC’s Franka Bernardine and Clouden.
The third NDC legislator, George Vincent, was not present during the walkout having earlier indicated that he would be missing the sitting.
Clouden later told reporters that his action was indeed a protest to the treatment of Burke during the debate. “Yes, I am protesting,” he said, with Bernardine adding “all of us have something to say and we cannot say it”.
The Hydrocarbon Incentive Bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month, seeks to provide incentives for companies that will be engaging the hydrocarbon exploration.
It defines hydrocarbon exploration investment as any business activity surrounding or involving exploration and scientific research to determine the existence of a natural deposit of crude oil or natural gas in Grenada or the quality, quantity or composition of crude oil or natural gas extracted from a natural deposit in Grenada.
It excludes an investment that generates any profit from a transaction involving crude oil or natural gas, or any product of crude oil or natural gas, extracted from Grenada.
To qualify for the incentives a company should have investment to a certain amount and that amount according to the bill not exceeding EC$50 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents).
Other incentives include a 100 per cent waiver on Customs duties machinery and equipment; spare parts machinery and equipment and a maximum of six motor vehicles.
The waiver will also apply to networking elements and computer hardware and software as well as building materials and infrastructure materials, for the purposes of a qualifying investment.

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