Africa-Press – Gambia. The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Gambia, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, said that the assembly’s lack of quorum on Thursday is “unacceptable.”
“It is the fundamental and sacred duty of every Parliamentarian to attend the business of the assembly irrespective of that day’s business. Our primary duty is to be in parliament especially when the assembly is setting either in plenary or at the committee level this is what we are elected or nominated for,” Hon. Jatta said.
Hon. Jatta stated that when assembly calls, all other business is secondary.
“As I did communicate at the beginning of this Ordinary Session. The concern of the Assembly business committee and that of my office to the gravity regarding the failure of some honorable Ministers appearing before this August assembly on their scheduled business during the previous seasons,” he told the members.
Speaker Jatta stated that they will be devoid of moral authority to condemn or even sanction Ministers for non-attendance if the members themselves cannot respect their own schedule by attending their sitting which he described as “worry and alarming.”
Hon. Jatta said his office is very concerned about the issue and its effects on the integrity of the August Assembly that they all ought to protect.
“I wish to reiterate that the request for permission to be absent from a sitting of the National Assembly would only be considered by my office with at least a day’s prior notice. For emergency cases, you may unexceptional circumstances inform the table office on the very day itself requesting permission.
“The Table office’s responsibility is only to take note of the request and engage my office for approval. Just calling or text messaging to table office does not mean automatic approval of the request rather the table office must get back to you. I emphasize the requesting member must wait for my office’s approval or otherwise,” he addressed.
The Speaker further said if non-attendance of members is persistently obstructing the business of the National Assembly they will not hesitate to issue a policy directive to the office of the clerk for the payment of session allowance attached to the daily attendance registered and administered every day verified by the daily records and proceedings.
“This directive may further provide that deduction should be made for each day’s absence as provided in the policy document that was given to each member during our first day in the Assembly after the General election,” Hon. Jatta told the Members.
The Speaker Jatta further told the members that it’s their responsibility as honorable members to ensure that they attend the daily sittings during each session as their primary duty to their electorates who send them to the parliament for representation.
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