The reduction in the number of sittings in the National Assembly since the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government took office in May 2015, has disallowed Members of Parliament (MP) from representing their constituents on burning issues.
This is according to People’s Progressive Party (PPP) MP, Dr Frank Anthony who explained Thursday that “no legitimate reasons” have been given on the delayed observance of sessions.
“The National Assembly should function, and when you have delays in the sessions you are not told why, then that flies in the face of democracy,” the former minister opined.
He noted that it is through the parliamentary process that citizens are allowed the freedom of expression on many issues. The MP pointed out that the recent travels of Government ministers to New York and elsewhere have not yielded much in return.
“You see ministers going to New York to do what, what have they brought back, what tangible results?” questioned the PPP MP.
He related that his party is desirous of bringing a number of issues to the fore, but cannot engage Government, due to reduced sittings. He surmised that Government should also have legislative matters which they would want to have addressed.
“We have motions we’d like to bring, we have questions we’d like to raise and one would assume that the government would have had legislation that it would like to get passed – to bring legislation, you have to bring them to Parliament…things like the insurance bill, pieces of cyber legislation; one would have thought that they are interested in getting these things done,” Dr Anthony reasoned.
When questioned if the Parliamentary Opposition would actively advocate more sittings, the PPP member declared that his Party sees no problem with meeting on a regular basis.
Dr Anthony responded: “Of course, that’s our constant thing. If they want to keep Parliament every week, we are there, if twice a week, we could be here, we don’t have a problem with that. I think the government has a problem because they don’t want to keep parliament – they’re the ones who have been the major stumbling block.”