Kempe accuses AG of making mockery’ of debate
The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate said the Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney-General had made a “mockery” of the Budget debate process.
Nick Kempe of the One Bermuda Alliance explained that the Opposition allotted two hours for debate on the Ministry of Legal Affairs budget — and all but 30 seconds of the time was taken up by Kathy Lynn Simmons’s brief.
He said: “Unfortunately, the Attorney-General made a bit of a mockery of the debate process. She was allocated two hours and spoke for the entire time.
“It seems clear that she is unwilling to accept any public scrutiny on her ministry, despite there being a great number of newsworthy matters over the last couple of months.
“When questions were asked in the House, it was suggested that they were not answered there because they wanted them to be answered in the Senate with the Attorney-General herself. The time was allocated and the opportunity was squandered.”
He said he had intended to raise questions about the increase of spending on public relations in the ministry, including the hiring of a public relations consultant, while only $242,000 was budgeted for litigation guardians.
Mr Kempe said: “There was no chance to ask if that amount of money will cover all the cases. On a back-of-the-envelope assessment, it should seem insufficient.
“So we are spending $679,000 in increased promotion, but you would think more would be dedicated towards the actual safeguarding of the children.”
Mr Kempe said that the Opposition was responsible for the Budget debate schedule, but that Ms Simmons could have asked for more time.
He added: “The Attorney-General had time to review the schedule and had she felt the time allocated was insufficient, more time could have been allocated as needed.
“Questions could have been answered in ten or 20 minutes, but exactly zero minutes were given.”
Ms Simmons said that she had no obligation to cut her brief.
She added that her brief had also been expanded to deal with questions raised in the House of Assembly.