Parliament Agrees to Continue with Unfinished Bills

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The Gambian Parliament has on Tuesday 20th December 2022, adopted a motion to “carry over” six unfinished bills, which were tabled before the Fifth Legislature by the Government, whose legislative processes were not exhausted up to the end of the lifespan of the Fifth Legislature.

Tabling the ”carry over” motion, the Minister for Works and Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah, on behalf of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice Dawda Jallow, explained that the move was consistent to the Speaker’s ruling on a particular point of order. That the Speaker ruled that all the unfinished government bills may be reinstated or reintroduced into the assembly, subject to a motion by the person in charge.

The bills he said were tabled before the Fifth Legislature of the Assembly for consideration and passage, but unfortunately, their legislative process were not exhausted at the time of the dissolution of the Fifth Legislature and were therefore not passed. The motion is brought to this assembly consistent to the Honorable Speaker’s ruling on a particular point of order which reads: “all incomplete or unfinished government bills or unfinished businesses of the Fifth Legislature, may be reinstated or reintroduced in the successor assembly (Sixth Legislature), subject to a motion by the person in charge,” Sillah told lawmakers.

He informed deputies that they have reprinted sufficient copies of the bills for all members of the august assembly, stating that the said bills are crucial in their transitional justice reform process, because they provide the legal framework on mutual legal assistance in crimes;  guide the fight against corruption; prohibition of any form torture and other forms of inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment, and the achievement of cardinal principles of free and fair elections in the Gambia, among others.

The unfinished bills upon which the “carry over” motion was tabled for are as follows:

1. Mutual legal Assistance Bill, 2019;

2. Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019

3. Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Bill, 2020;

4. Criminal Procedure Bill, 2020;

5. Criminal Offences Bill, 2020; and

6. Elections Bill, 2021.