Gov’t denies hijacking Opposition Day

Georgetown, GINA, November 10, 2016

Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally said it was a deliberate attempt by the opposition to mislead the public by making accusations that the government hijacked the ‘Opposition’s Day’ also called Members’ day.

Joining Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at a post-Cabinet briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, today, Minister Ally contended that Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira is fully cognisant of the Standing Orders and the Constitution associated with the National Assembly, so there is no issue of misconception.

Minister Ally noted that, “the business of Parliament is guided by the Standing Orders and Standing Orders 24:2 has made reference to sittings of the National Assembly and when we can have the Opposition and when they are entitled to have  precedents in these Sittings.”

The Minister referenced sections 71 and 72 of Article 55, and also Articles 61 and 69 of the Constitution, noting that the articles explain when and how Sittings of the National Assembly must take place.

Further, the Minister explained to the media that the first Sitting of the eleventh parliament was held on June 10, 2015 and every fourth sitting of the National Assembly, except at budget time, is Opposition day. “November 4, 2016 was the day of Government business and not Opposition business as was being alluded to. The next Members’ Day is the 48th Sitting and during budget time, those Sitting days are not counted, and when we look at the whole scenario, it was discovered that the next Members’ day will be next year in January.”

Additionally, Minister Ally pointed out that there was a recent meeting with the Opposition Chief Whip, and it was acknowledged that the Opposition would be allowed to debate their matters at the next parliamentary sitting on November 21, 2016.

Minister Ally concluded that “we have to work with what the Constitution and Standing Orders say, and so I trust I have cleared the aired of when is Members’ Day and when is Government’s business day.”

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