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Minister avoids having to explain erroneous lockdown exemption

Construction in April at the St Regis resort in St George’s despite the start of a stay-at-home order for pandemic containment (File photograph)

Parliamentary rules thwarted an attempt to get details on an “error“ granting an exemption to the lockdown imposed in April that briefly allowed construction of a St George’s hotel to continue.

The exemption for the St Regis resort construction was pulled after two days.

Renée Ming, the national security minister, said later that permission had been erroneously given.

Her April 14 statement added that “an exemption was issued to St Regis without my authority and without me having the opportunity to fully consider the application”.

David Burt, the Premier, declined to reveal who had made the mistake, which drew criticism when other construction projects had to shut down in response to a serious outbreak of the coronavirus this spring.

Michael Dunkley, an Opposition MP, started parliamentary questions on Friday in the House of Assembly by asking Ms Ming if an exemption letter in her name had been issued.

She responded that the information was already public in her April 14 statement.

Mr Dunkley continued: “The minister has remarked that the exemption was given in error. How did the error occur?”

But Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, said her previous statement was not in front of the House for question time and thus the supplemental question could not be asked.

Mr Lister told Mr Dunkley to use “whatever information you get from public domain” and to bring his query about the error to the House at a later date.

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Published July 18, 2021 at 8:46 am (Updated July 18, 2021 at 8:47 am)

Minister avoids having to explain erroneous lockdown exemption

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