Senate Minority Leader Richard Lewis says he does not agree with Senate President Alincia Williams-Grant that the Upper House sitting of Thursday, June 24, was convened as an emergency session.
All four United Progressive Party Senators boycotted the sitting as a protest, citing the continued late Notice and tardy distribution of the Order Paper, breaching the House’s Standing Orders.
However, Williams-Grant claimed that Thursday’s sitting was convened under Section 11 (5) of the Standing Orders, which permits short notice of a sitting in cases of emergency.
She said that the State of Emergency, which was passed on Tuesday in the Lower House, is an important public matter, and therefore the sitting had to be convened speedily.
However, Senator Lewis disagrees; he says the section of the Standing Orders on which the President relied does not apply in this case.
Lewis points out that the State of Emergency has been in place for over a year, with five extensions, and the Government knew that it would be undertaking this latest extension.
As recently as this week, Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle complained about the late receipt of Notice, Bills and Resolutions to House Speaker Sir Gerald Watt. He complained, as well, about the Government side’s practice of rushing all three readings of Bills through a single sitting.