Mockery of parliamentary democracy
Friday 13th August 2021
The National Federation Party has described the rejection of a Motion on Covid-19 response inquiry as a mockery of parliamentary democracy.
NFP General Secretary Seni Nabou said it is incredulous that the Motion, which was vetted by the Speaker and Parliament’s Tables Office as well as the Secretariat and approved to be listed on the Order Paper, was rejected by the Business Committee that met today (Friday).
The Business Committee met today to approve parliamentary business for next week’s sitting that starts on Monday.
“This is after strong objection by Government’s four Members on the Business Committee that included the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General”.
“The Party has established that the issue of whether or not to include the Motion on the Order Paper for Monday. Following a tie in the number of votes – four from the Opposition voting for the Motion’s inclusion and four Government Members opposing it, the Speaker obviously had the last say”.
“Instead of conforming to Section 125 of the Standing Orders where the Speaker must ensure that any determination is fair to all parties and doesn’t discriminate against or oppress a minority party, the Speaker ruled that the Motion, which was put on the Order Paper in the first place with his concurrence, would be ruled out”.
“This goes against every fibre of democratic norms. This is the people’s parliament. It must be treated like a temple of democracy and not the domain of the current government”.
“It is obvious that government is fearful of a debate because it would expose the severe weaknesses and shortcomings of its plan to win the war against the pandemic”.
“The Motion to be moved by NFP Leader Hon Prof Biman Prasad was for a special parliamentary committee to analyse, assess and report on the effectiveness of the Health Ministry’s response to the Covid-19 Emergency”.
“The Committee was supposed to report back to Parliament during the September sitting so that the findings and recommendations could be implemented to address the weaknesses in the response since the start of the 2nd wave in April”.
“People are dying. The health system is unable to cope with the massive pressures resulting in it massively downscaling testing. People are hungry and unable to put food on the table for their children and families”.
“The three 40 feet long containers converted into mortuaries outside CWM Hospital is a painful reminder of this unprecedented disaster”.
“But this government doesn’t want meaningful solutions”.
“They continue to fidget while the people suffer and cry for help”.