Nay, Mr President
By ANDRE BAGOO Tuesday, August 20 2013
NAY MR President. That’s the vote MPs appear to have taken in relation to President Anthony Carmona’s public call for Parliament to sit at 8 am.
Government Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal, who is in charge of calling for sittings of the House of Representatives, yesterday confirmed that when next the Parliament sits, it will sit at its normal 1.30 pm meeting time.
“We will be sitting in the week before the Budget and at 1.30 pm,” Moonilal said. “We have not built the consensus on the earlier time that was suggested because many remain of the view that this would clash with committee work. We feel the President may not have had in mind the committee system.”
At the ceremonial opening of Parliament on August 2, Carmona issued a call for Parliament to sit at 8 am and knocked the long hours of sittings and their late hour. “What advantage is there in having issues debated at two and three o’clock in the morning?” Carmona said. “How does this compare with the disadvantage of a severely reduced complement of representatives, coupled with the obvious exhaustion of those who have managed or have been obliged to stay the course? Does this really augur well for the quality of parliamentary contributions?”
On August 2, Moonilal adjourned the House, “to a date – and time! – to be fixed”.
MP s have, however, agreed to reduce their speaking times. Last week, Moonilal said Government and Opposition MP s have agreed to reduce their speaking times from 75 minutes to about 45 minutes.
Noting the issue was currently before the Standing Orders Committee, Moonilal nonetheless noted, “There is an initiative now to reduce the speaking time of members from 75 minutes to 45 minutes. I think we have built some agreement on that.”
The next sitting of Parliament will be in the first week of September, Moonilal indicated. He did not give an indication of what business will be dealt with, but several possibilities include a motion to approve an Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) report on Local Government boundaries.
Several pieces of legislation are also due to be tabled in the new session, including legislation to deal with crime.
The sitting’s business may also be possibly affected by the outcome of joint talks on tackling crime this Thursday between the Government and Opposition.