Government says it sees no need for the Parliamentary Privileges Committee – 27th Feb 2013
The Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon today said, that the Government’s contention is in keeping with Friday’s ruling of Speaker, Raphael Trotman, that he would allow Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, to participate fully in the business of the National Assembly.
Eight months ago, the National Assembly moved a no-confidence motion against Rohee, but given his refusal to follow convention and resign, the opposition moved to have him barred from speaking.
The Speaker had ruled that since the matter of speaking in the House is a privilege, he was sending the matter to the Privileges Committee.
But given the latest ruling by the Speaker, Luncheon, the Government sees no need for the Privileges Committee.
The largest opposition coalition bloc APNU said that the Speaker’s ruling was premature, since the Privileges Committee has not yet made its findings known.
The Committee has to present its report to the National Assembly.
Given that the Speaker has ruled that he would allow Rohee to speak, senior APNU member, Deborah Backer asked what would happen if the Privileges Committee comes back and says Rohee cannot speak.
And so, APNU is still looking to the Privileges Committee to complete its work.
The seven-seat Alliance for Change (AFC) has said that it would respect the ruling of the Speaker, but has neither if it would sit and listen to Rohee nor if it would vote for the national security budget under Rohee.
The Privileges Committee is chaired by the Speaker and has five members from the opposition and four members from the Government’s side of the House.
At the first meeting of the Committee on January 21, all parties agreed to await the final decision of the Chief Justice on the matter. Chief Justice, Ian Chang, had made a provisional ruling saying that the National Assembly could not restrict Rohee from speaking, but he indicated that he could not dictate to the House what it should do.
The Chief Justice’s final ruling is imminent.