Ministers can’t be represented at Assembly Hon. Jatta declares

Jul 7, 2021, 1:21 PM

Hon. Sidia S. Jatta National Assembly Member (NAM) for Wuli West has said that Permanent Secretaries (PS) cannot represent or speak on behalf of the ministers when national matters are being discussed at the parliament.

Hon. Jatta made this statement at the National Assembly on Tuesday before the commencement of the adjournment debate.

"We do not need people to come here to take notes; we are here to interact with the executive positively on policy matters. It must be established once and for all that we cannot do without ministers in this parliament particularly when we have motions on adjournment that must be established and put into practice; otherwise we will be running into problems," he said.

He added that parliament will assume its responsibility to do what is necessary to ensure that ministers come there when “we request them to be here to address the issues raised by the lawmakers.”

Majanko Samusa, a nominated member, noted that members advocate for the presence of all the ministers, “but it will be practically impossible to have all ministers here at the same time for us to address the issues surrounding the country’s development.”

He argued that if the NAMs want to have all the ministers present, “we should change the system of parliamentary sittings.”

"I will not support the fact that all the ministers are not around so the parliament would not sit," he noted.

Niamina East Omar Ceesay pointed out that normally, the calendar of the session is circulated to all the ministers and departments, arguing that they (ministers) must be aware of the Assembly sessions. He therefore argued that their absence is inexcusable.

He added that even where as it is not possible for all the ministers to be present at the same time, at least majority of them are expected to be there to attend the session.

"We have been complaining for quite a long time, writing notes and nothing has been done."

Alagie S. Darboe, the Brikama North legislator said when a government has plans, they are directed by the policies of the nation and these policies are guided by the executive and the National Assembly. “So what the member for Wuli West is trying to emphasise is; parliament should work hand-in-glove with the executive on policies and direct our nation towards national development.

“Nobody is saying that all the Cabinet ministers should be present during the adjournment debate; and nobody will also expect all the National Assembly members to be present during the course of the sitting as well,” he concluded.