LA silent in Mac’s absence
(CNS): Despite having a packed legislative agenda for the remaining seven months of this parliamentary term, the Legislative Assembly was silent again on Monday after the House was adjourned by the premier on Friday evening before he left the islands. The country’s leader is understood to be overseas but there has been no official report about where or why he is currently travelling or whether he has taken personal leave or is away on government business. Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, said he was unaware of where the premier was or the reason for his departure and wondered why his whereabouts had to be an official secret.
“We have not been told where he is or why he is off-island,” said Miller, referring to himself and other members of parliament. “We should be told where he is, what he is doing and when he will return if he is on government business. If he is on personal leave, then fine, he has no need to tell us what he will be doing but he needs to tell us who will be acting premier while he is gone and for how long.”
Although CNS has submitted questions to the premier’s office regarding the premier’s latest departure, we are still awaiting a response.
Although bills have been left on the order paper, Miller said the Legislative Assembly was adjourned for a date still to be fixed, which, he said, essentially concluded the budget meeting and will now require government to carry over the outstanding business, which includes the much anticipated National Pensions Bill, and start a new meeting.
Miller pointed to the packed legislative agenda government is currently facing, the numbers of outstanding parliamentary questions and motions from the opposition benches, as well as a significant number of issues that government needs to address sooner rather than later.
The North Side representative noted the need for government to pass the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility agreement with the UK into law, the settling of the issue regarding the three additional parliamentary seats and the need to address the law as set out in the Boundary Commission, as well as a catalogue of legislation that is set out in this year’s budget document.
“Given the circumstances, it is not acceptable for the premier to disappear into thin air,” he said. “The trouble with this incompetent UDP government is that it seems incapable of working to any kind of plan, so all of us are constantly left in the dark,” Miller added, referring to the management of the Legislative Assembly.
According to the recently published Annual Plan and Estimates, between now and next March when the House will be prorogued in preparation for the May 2013 election, the government intends to bring some two dozen pieces of legislation as well as a significant number of new and changes to existing regulations for a number of different laws.
From the long anticipated and much awaited National Conservation Law to the overdue amendments to the Freedom of Information Law, as well as legislation to support the constitution, the government will need to find significant time for the legislative body to sit if it is to complete its proposed legislative plans.
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