Thursday, January 21, 2021

Unprecedented National Assembly Sesssion Ended In An Unprecedented And Unceremonious Manner

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Yesterday, the National Assembly, which has been sitting since the 15th June 2020 to the credit of the members , witnessed a motion moved by the Majority leader and seconded by the minority leader for the adjournment debate to commence after the completion of its second ordinary session in the 2020 legislative year. A member rose to make a motion for the suspension of a debate which is different from a motion for the adjournment of the session. It was seconded and voted on. Hence the debate was suspended and the Assembly adjourned. What does the suspension of a debate mean my not have been a matter of concern to those whose minds were already decided. Members are likely to look at this unprecedented action as a major error of judgment that should have no recurrence. It is a precedence that should have never been set.

It is rather unfortunate that members adopted the language of silence on this very day when Ministers, whose absence in the past had been frown at by the members , were present in their numbers.

This should have been the most insightful ending of the session when National Assembly members should have looked at the gaps in the Health sector in the combat against COVID-19 for the Minister to explain the needs of his Ministry to enable the nation to conduct social audit on how our health system is responding to COVID-19.

Many workers are out of work and many informal sector operators have become bankrupt in both the rural and urban areas. The Minister of trade should have been engaged to explain the response of his Ministry to the plight of the informal sector operators.

The vulnerable farmers who live on less than 1 dollar twenty -five cents a day need production aid in addition to food aid. The Minister of agriculture needs to address the concerns of farmers who cannot afford fertilizer.

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Heavy down pour of rain is having a destructive effect on roads of different categories and could contribute to the poor sanitary environment associated with the possibility of a rise in water borne diseases. The issues of the schools and other matters were all hanging. The National Assembly members had the opportunity to raise the issues for the Ministers to clear all doubts. History will continue to ask: Why did they succumb to the dictates of haste to make the wrong decision at the wrong time at these most trying of times when many questions need answers? Time will tell.

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