By Kiana Wilburg
In an effort to prevent future confusion over the reconvening of the National Assembly after a recess, the General Secretary of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Joseph Harmon disclosed that he filed at the Parliament yesterday, a motion to amend certain aspects of the Standing Orders.
Harmon explained at the party’s press conference that the proposed amendments to Standing Orders, Numbers 8 (1), (2) and 9 are to facilitate a time frame by which a date could be set for the National Assembly to reconvene at the end of a recess.
The General Secretary said that the amendments would allow for the majority in the National Assembly to be able to approach the House Speaker to get a date set for the reconvening or for an adjourned date of the Assembly.
“I want to also make the point that the Standing Orders which we now have in the National Assembly are now being tested and these were adopted in July 2011. This was almost at the end of the Ninth Parliament and so in the Tenth Parliament we are basically going through fresh Standing Orders… and as we go through, you would find something that is not properly catered for and therefore amendments have to be made,” Harmon said.
He noted too that the proposed amendments will also give greater clarity as to what can be done by the House Speaker and the majority in the National Assembly and how long it should take after a recess for Parliament to be reconvened.
The current gridlock over the reconvening of the National Assembly he said, should not be, and emphasized that there should be no delay in discussing the people’s business. The APNU Parliamentarian also stated that the Alliance For Change (AFC) was consulted on the proposed amendments.
The inability of the government’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira and the Opposition’s Whip, Amna Ally to reach a consensus on the date for the reconvening of the National Assembly left Speaker, Raphael Trotman with no choice but to propose November 6 to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs as the date for the reconvening of the House.
But Isaacs has since declined to follow the directive of the Speaker. Trotman recently deemed the situation to be a constitutional crisis over the sitting of the House. Some members of the electorate have opined in published letters to the press that the actions of the Clerk amount to insubordination and as such, should be sanctioned.
AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan is reported in the media as saying that he believes that the Clerk’s decision to not follow the directive of the House Speaker constitutes defiance.
Asked for his opinion on the matter yesterday, Opposition Leader David Granger told Kaieteur News that he believes the Clerk’s judgment is being interfered with by the government. But even as he expressed this, he said that the Clerk is not subordinate to Trotman and is “not obligated” to follow the instructions of the House Speaker.
Additionally, the AFC has formally written the Speaker requesting for the House to be reconvened. But even as the APNU jointly called for such with the AFC, it did not join its counterpart in a joint approach to the Speaker.
Ramjattan had told this newspaper that he believes, from certain indications that the APNU would be writing to Trotman independently. But to date, even this has not been done. In fact, when Granger was asked for a reason why the APNU is yet to do so, considering the fact that Trotman said he would lend much consideration to a call by the majority of the House, he said, “there is no need to write him.”
He added, “We have already indicated that we are interested in the early reconvening of Parliament and we took this position from since October 10 and the chief whip is in touch with the Speaker…there is no need to write to him…I felt that the representation by the chief whip was strong enough and the Speaker is aware of our call.”
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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