Lawrence’s ‘rice & grass’ creates uproar in National Assembly


An uproar erupted in the National Assembly Wednesday afternoon when Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence displayed a bag of rice and grass and suggested that opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Cornel Damon use it as a snack.

“I don’t believe my friend is satisfied with the little paddy so I brought some grass as a backup for him,” Minister Lawrence stated – causing the opposition MPs to descend into a state of frenzy.

“That’s the caliber of your presentation?” former Education Minister, Priya Manickchand blurted out.

The commotion required the intervention of House Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland who reminded that honorable members of proper conduct.

“If we continue to hurl insults at one another, the result would be precisely what we have now…it seems as though we want to stay there. It seems to be that members want the rules to apply only when they wish them to apply, the rules apply across the board…members must understand that they too have a responsibility and that is to allow speakers on all sides on the floor to say what they have to say,” Dr Scotland cautioned.

After being quieted by the Speaker, the Minister continued with her budget presentation where she disclosed some major infrastructural plans for the health sector in 2018.

She said $243M allocated for the construction of a new public health head office complex to accommodate all departments in an effort to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.

Provision was also made for the construction of a modern food and drug lab to test food and other commodities to ensure items meet the required standards.

Further, some $53.8M was earmarked for the construction of an etymological lab to facilitate research and studies on the biological makeup of the Aedes mosquito.

“This will determine chemical resistance during fogging exercises,” Lawrence stated.

The National 2018 Budget makes provision for $33.3B to support the delivery of quality, efficient and effective public healthcare to the populace in 2018.  This budgeted amount is an increase of 7 percent from the 2017 allocation of $31.2B.

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