Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, Jamaica – Members of Parliament (MPs) representing the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, walked out of Gordon House on Tuesday while Opposition Leader Mark Golding was making his contribution to the Budget Debate.

The incident occurred after Golding suggested that the appointment of the prime minister’s wife, Juliet Holness, as Speaker was bad practice as it lacked independence. She replaced former Speaker Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert who was forced to resign following a damning report from the Integrity Commission.

Golding made the remark while addressing the need for transparency and accountability in Government.

“The head of Parliament (Juliet Holness) is now the spouse of the head of Government. This really does not sit well with the tradition that the Speaker must act independently of the Government of the day,” Golding said.

“The speaker is intended to be independent and must act independent of the government of the day,” Golding added, insisting it is the tradition while being shouted down by Government MPs who took objection to his comments.

He tried to continue but Deputy Speaker, Heroy Clarke, who was presiding at the time, was unable to control the proceedings.

A visibly peeved prime minister could be seen mouthing the words “That’s low and desperate”, which was picked up by other government MPS who then exited the chamber en masse.

Golding did not get to finish his presentation as, with just 14 members on the Opposition benches, they lacked the required quorum of 16 members for the sitting to continue.

Clarke waited for the required five minutes to see whether any of the government MPs would return but none did hence he adjourned the sitting for the day.