The disruption in Parliament during the Budget
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SURPRISING outburst from a woman in the House of Assembly gallery disrupted the Minnis administration's budget communication Wednesday morning.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest had just began to table an amendment to value added tax legislation when a woman threw several white wrist bands in the open square.
The woman, a member of the Chipman family, wore a shirt that said "Chipman strong".
"Change the system," she shouted as police pulled her away. "Our land will be returned to us, not by you but by the God we serve."
House Speaker Halson Moultrie had acknowledged the woman and her relatives at the start of the sitting. The family is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the election of their ancestor, H.N. Chipman, to Parliament, the Speaker said. Later, he called the woman's outburst "criminal" and announced she is banned from the House of Assembly for the rest of the session. He said the woman is now in police custody.
The budget communication is traditionally the most anticipated event on Parliament's calendar. This was the first outburst of the session so far.
The Chipman family has been a part of a long-running dispute over land. In the House of Assembly last year, Centerville MP Reece Chipman said maps showed his family owned the Tucker estate between Tusculum and Orange Hill "on and off West Bay Street."
Moments after his relative was pulled from the House of Assembly, Mr Chipman picked up the wrist bands she threw, mouthing "sorry" to governing party members as he walked away.