COVID-19: Use in house channels to address issues-Speaker to Minority

The Speaker of Parliament Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye has reacted to the Minority’s call for a bipartisan approach in dealing with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Minority Leader, in the said letter dated March 20, 2020, recommended the need for the Speaker to institute a bipartisan committee that would draw up plans to enable the country deal with the spread of the viral disease.

However, the Speaker in responding indicated that: ”The Minority Leader knows the appropriate procedures for handling all matters in Parliament and it would have been most appropriate if these in house channels had been explored rather than circulating the information in the media, especially since it is an internal memo.

Given the seriousness of the matter, the Speaker expected an expeditious action where the Minority Leader would have approached and conferred with the Speaker for necessary action.”

It added: ”On Saturday, the Minority was absent from the House. Again yesterday, Monday, 23/03/2020, he was conspicuously absent both at the Leaders Meeting and in the Chamber. As at 10:00 am today, when the House was getting ready to sit, he had not been seen by Speaker, having once again, been absent from the pre sitting meeting where the Speaker confers with the Leadership before proceedings.”

In a press statement, signed and issued by the Director of Public Affairs in Parliament, Kate Addo, the Parliamentary Service said: ”The Speaker will like to advise all members that Ghana is in a state of emergency at the moment. Parliament will, therefore, proceed to do the business of the House as an emergency situation requires. The Speaker invites the cooperation of all well-meaning and patriotic Ml’s and Ghanaians to cooperate and not be inhibitive in any way against national interest.”

Meanwhile, the Speaker has indicated the letter from the Minority Leader did not reach his office.

”The Speaker reiterates as he had said yesterday (Monday 23/23/2020) that no such letter has reached his Office, as at Tuesday morning, 24th March 2020. The letter was only received at 12.40 pm this afternoon. It is very strange that a letter addressed to the Speaker has gone viral on social media and other sources, while the addressee is at a loss as to its content.”

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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