It’s a battle that’s been brewing in the public domain for some time and this afternoon it came to a head in the LA.
Independent MLAs and Government traded barbs over the Legal Practitioners Bill, but they were not sparing over its provisions but who was piloting the bill.
“And that the House begin debate on that bill immediately,” Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said.
It was this government motion brought today to move the Legal Practitioners Bill up the LA agenda and ahead of controversial private members motion against law firms that triggered protests and heated debate from Independent MLAs like Arden McLean.
“It is highly unfair to the Opposition to come here and not be prepared to debate and the government pulls this on this honourable house,” Mr McLean said.
The bill was eventually promoted to the top of the line. But Mr McLean launched a counter attack calling for Financial Services Minister Hon. Wayne Panton to be disallowed from piloting and voting on it claiming Mr Panton has a private interest in pushing the bill as a landlord of Walkers law firm and a former managing partner. But the minister countered saying he had no interest and obtained legal advice.
“And that advice says I have no direct pecuniary interest to declare and I think that allows me to continue with the presentation of the bill,” Minister Panton said.
House speaker Julianna O’Connor-Connolly after hearing both sides of the house ruled there was no reason for Mr Panton to be dis-allowed and the minister proceeded to open debate emphasising the need for a modernised law. Debate on the bill is expected to last several days and will come