General News of Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday, May 29 started with only 45 Members (MPs) in the House but by close of proceedings, 207 names were captured in the records, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had said.
He was not exactly enthused with the habitual absenteeism and has urged members to make it a point to always be present for the business of the House.
The Majority Leader was confirming concerns raised by the First Ddeputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, who described as “embarrassing” the act where Members of Parliament come in to sign and go back without taking part in parliamentary duties in the chamber.
According to Mr Osei Owusu, when MPs didn’t have offices, they would come early, sit at the coffee shop and wait for proceedings to begin.
He observed that since they were provided offices, they come in to sign and go back to sit in their offices.
The First Deputy Speaker was reacting to concerns raised MP for Lambussie Karni Constituency, Edward Dery, that the number of members in the chamber on Wednesday, May 30, was not up to one-third.
Mr. Dery said MPs’ absenteeism is “becoming unbecoming” and urged the Speaker to do something about it as they will not continue to tolerate it.
Mr Osei Owusu, who is also MP for Bekwai Constituency, was worried most MPs are breaching the Constitution and the legislature’s Standing Orders, especially Standing Order 16 with impunity.
That particular Order requires that “a member shall not absent himself during a meeting for more than 15 sittings without the permission in writing of the Speaker. Any member infringing this order shall have his conduct referred to the Privileges Committee”.
He urged them to change their attitude towards work as they may not be happy if action is taken against them.
In his contribution, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said the continuous absenteeism undermines public confidence in MPs.
He, therefore, urged members to be punctual to enable them transact business efficiently and effectively.