Mitchell criticises govt after Senate adjourned

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell. (File photo)

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell. (File photo)



SENATOR Fred Mitchell said “government has to get its act together” as he expressed displeasure Friday regarding the upper chamber not being able to hold a sitting due to lack of attendance.

The Senate was called to order shortly after 10.30am and about three minutes later the few that were present left after being dismissed. Six members must be present for a meeting to proceed.

Senator Mitchell, leader of the Opposition’s business, was one of few senators present in the Upper Chamber, when they were told the Senate would have to adjourn due to lack of quorum.

He immediately released a statement blaming government for the no show, while Attorney General Carl Bethel also released a statement offering an explanation of what led to Friday's events.

“The President of the Senate who summoned the senators was a no show and no minister of the government showed up,” Senator Mitchell's statement read.

“The Attorney General who is responsible for setting the date and time, moving bills and conducting government business did not show up. No other government minister showed up. The number of Senators required for a quorum did not show up.”

He said the Senate therefore could not meet and was forced to adjourn indefinitely because a quorum was not formed.

The statement continued: “I find this particularly egregious because during our deliberations over scheduling, l told the leader of government business, the Attorney General that since the meeting date had originally been set for Monday, to just leave that date in place.

“He insisted the date should be changed to today's date. The man who set the date did not show up. This level of disorganisation and rank incompetence is ridiculous and a total disgrace.”

Senator Mitchell’s statement concluded: “The government needs to get its act together and get serious about governance and the people's business.”

Attorney General Carl Bethel's statement said: “On Tuesday past I requested that the Senate meet this morning for the purpose of Tabling a Resolution for debate next week,” the statement said.

“A Notice had previously been issued (on Monday past, the 8th March 2021) for a meeting of the Senate on Monday the 15th March 2021. However, at the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday the 9th March 2021, it was indicated that the Government intended to continue the debate on the Financial Bills on the same day that the Senate had been summoned to meet.

“As a result of the decision on Tuesday in Cabinet, I sent a note, that same day, requesting that the Senate meeting be brought forward to today’s date, only for the purpose of tabling the Resolution to approve the Mid-term Budget statement.

“I also spoke with the Minister of State for Finance on Tuesday, and indicated that I was already committed to attend two negotiation sessions in respect of two major development proposals on Friday morning. I asked him to stand in for me and to Table the Resolution.

“Unfortunately, despite my request since Tuesday past, the Clerk did not issue a Notice to change the date of the meeting until 6:44 pm last evening. It is important to note that during our conversation of Tuesday and until the email was sent on Thursday evening, the Minister of State for Finance had only received the original email setting the Senate date for Tabling on the following Monday.

“Apparently, the Minister of State, who had already travelled to Freeport that day, did not check his emails and thus was not informed of the confirmation of the change of date from next Monday to today’s date. This very innocent late communication, and innocent oversight, explains the absence of a Cabinet Minister in the Senate this morning.

“The Senate will accordingly be requested to meet on Tuesday morning the 16th March 2021 for the purposes of Tabling the Resolution, which will allow for the commencement of a full debate on the Financial Bills and the Mid-term Budget Statement on Wednesday the 17th March 2021.”


shonkai 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes, get serious indeed. If you can't even get a rubber stamp to work correctly. . . . . .


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