The Opposition's Official Response to Powerless Parliament
Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa today hit out at Parliament’s inability to ensure constant power supply even with a $9 million budget plus $6 million in kind from donors.
The Opposition Leader made her criticism after the changing decisions of the Speaker and Parliament Secretariat this morning following a summons by the Speaker to the Government and Opposition Whips to discuss power disruptions before the start of the scheduled parliamentary meeting. The entire episode, said Ro Teimumu, was a shambles.
It was decided to suspend today’s sittings. The Whips were to pass that decision on to their respective parties. The Opposition members dispersed for the day. Then the Secretary General called to advise that Parliament would resume at 10.30am. The Leader of the Opposition protested as opposition members had dispersed following the Speaker’s advice that Parliament would not sit today.
Ro Teimumu said she was advised that the government whip could not get to see his superiors and that government wanted the sitting to proceed. So the Speaker’s decision was ‘reversed’. Hence no Opposition Members were present when the parliament sat today.
Ro Teimumu said todays ‘on again, off again, on again’ shambles made it obvious that:
17 months after the ‘new parliament’ opened it still does not have a suitable back-up generator to ensure the highest law making body in the land can proceed with the business of the nation in the face of FEA’s increasing ‘outages and unreliability’ of supply.
The failure of the Government Whip to advise his superiors in his party of the Speaker’s decision to suspend the sitting until tomorrow, is a consequence of authoritarian control on the government side. That control is vested in one person.
The fact that the government ‘over turned’ the Speaker’s ruling is yet another example of interference by the executive in the operations of parliament and non-compliance with the constitutional requirement for the ‘separation of powers’.
Ro Teimumu reiterated that the Opposition was absent today because it followed the Speaker’s ruling, relayed via its Chief Whip that the House would not sit today due to power supply problems.
Ro Teimumu Kepa