Parliament to debate SoE extension on Monday

The Red House, the seat of Parliament. Photo by Roger Jacob
The Red House, the seat of Parliament. Photo by Roger Jacob

THE House of Representatives will sit on May 24 to debate whether the state of emergency (SoE) imposed by Government from midnight on May 15, will continue for another three months.

The debate arises from two motions filed in the Prime Minister's name.

The first calls on the House to note the statement made by President Paula-Mae Weekes on May 15, in accordance with Section 9(1) of the Constitution, declaring the existence of a period of public emergency and issuing a proclamation to that effect on the same day.

This motion said within three days of this proclamation, the President will deliver a statement to Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George and the House should debate this statement no later than May 30, 15 days from the date of proclamation of the SoE.

The second motion notes the SoE has been enacted in accordance with Section 8 and 9 (2) of the Constitution.

Unless previously revoked, the motion continues, the SoE will remain in force for 15 days. This means that under the current circumstances, the SoE remains in effect until May 30.

The motion says in accordance with Section 10 (1) of the Constitution, the proclamation of the SoE can be extended before it expires, by a resolution supported by a simple majority vote of the House, for a period of three months. This means the Government by virtue of its 22 seats in the House to the Opposition's 19, can extend the SoE until August 15, if it is not revoked on or before May 30.

The motion adds that under Section 10 (1) no extension of the SoE exceeds three months and in all the extensions may not exceed six months,

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre on May 14, Dr Rowley announced the SoE would go into effect from midnight on that day. He explained the SoE will involve a curfew from 9 pm-5 am. That curfew began on May 15.

Rowley said associated SoE regulations would follow. Under these regulations, certain activities are prohibited between 5 am and 9 pm daily.

These include: no one can gather in groups over five or be at any workplace unless considered an essential service, as well as measures that were already covered by the public health regulations.

New restrictions include no exercising or drinking in public or running any sporting club.

Al-Rawi warned that stricter measures could be applied if people do not adhere to the SoE regulations.


"Parliament to debate SoE extension on Monday"

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