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Saturday 20 April 2019
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Lee: House sitting in vacation

THE Lower House will have sat three times during the official July/August vacation/recess period in breach of Parliament’s own rules or standing orders, complained Opposition MP for Pointe-a-Pierre David Lee.

He yesterday wrote a letter to House Clerk Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel.

“I write seeking clarification on two recently held sittings on July 3 and 9, as well as the forthcoming sitting of July 20, all held during the Fixed Recess period.”

Lee said Standing Order 14 (“Fixed Recess”) says “unless there are urgent or extraordinary reasons for so doing, no sitting of the House of Representatives shall be held from the first week in the month of July to the first week in the month of September in any year.”

He said the House sat twice in July when order papers indicated ordinary sittings, not extraordinary sittings. “The Order Paper issued for the sitting to be held on Friday July 20, similarly reflects an ordinary sitting.”

Lee said at the House’s last sitting on July 9, he had inquired of Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George who had replied he was correct and the House would proceeed under Standing Order 14.

He said he sought the Clerk’s clarification on the Speaker’s ruling.

“To my understanding, there is no clear provision for holding a sitting in accordance with Standing Order 14, as cited by the Honourable Speaker.

Lee said any justification for a sitting during the recess can only be done under Standing Order 13 (“Extraordinary Sitting”.)

“This is further compounded by the fact that the House was adjourned “sine die” (that is, “without a day” or a date to be fixed) on both July 3 and July 9.

“If there is no basis under Standing Order 14 for convening such a sitting, then why are the sittings of July 3, 9 and 20 not deemed Extraordinary Sittings, as they ought to be? I believe that this matter should be urgently clarified and brought to the attention of the Speaker at earliest convenience.”

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