By Makutu Manneh
The National Assembly on Monday 5th July 2021 adjourned the session of the adjournment debate because cabinet members failed to attend.
The speaker of the assembly, Mariam Jack Denton said the office of the clerk has written to each ministry and office of the vice president informing them that the adjournment debate starts on Monday at 10 O’clock and they are expected to attend.
The cabinet members not attending the adjournment debate caused chaos between the speaker and Omar Ceesay, National Assembly member for Niamina East.
Omar Ceesay sought to know the reason(s) that led to the absence of cabinet members from the sitting of the adjournment debate, before the majority leader could move the motion for the assembly to adjourn sine die.
“I will prefer you to explain to this honorable house why the honorable ministers are not on the ground for the commencement of the adjournment debate by the majority leader? There is no single minister in the house,” Ceesay put this question to the speaker.
In response to Mr. Ceesay, Speaker Mariam Jack-Denton said she does not own any obligation to explain why the ministers weren’t at the assembly.
“Why they are not here, it is not for me to explain and I cannot and will not,” Ms. Denton said.
Due to the absence of the cabinet members, the assembly adjourned the debate to Tuesday 6th July, 2021, for the ministers to attend the sitting(s).
An adjournment debate in the assembly enables a debate to take place without a question which the house must then decide. Clause 54 (3) of the standing order states that no honorable member shall speak for more than 15 minutes during the debate except that the speaker gives the mover of the motion extra time for his/her reply.