THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DESCENDS INTO A CIRCUS!

This newspaper has, on several occasions, highlighted the total disrespect the National Assembly has to its own Rules and Regulations and to the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. Indeed, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Patrick Pillay, has over the last twelve months been the country’s laughing stock because of his total lack of knowledge, or wrongful interpretation, of the Standing Orders and Constitution.

Many political pundits believe that most laws enacted by the Sixth Assembly are unconstitutional for the simple reason that the various procedural steps leading to their enactment have not been followed. The National Assembly, further, faces several cases in the Constitutional Court for setting up a committee, the Anti-Victimisation Committee, which functions as a quasi-judicial body in flagrant violation of the separation of powers promoted by our Constitution.

This week, matters came to a head when the Deputy Speaker, Nicholas Prea, admitted a motion by the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Wavel Ramkalawan, calling for the imposition of taxation, namely the Progressive Income Tax, as from January 2018. There is no doubt that the tabling of the motion is a populist one. It, however, blatantly violates Article 90 (b) of the Constitution which states that “except on the recommendation of the President, signified by the Minister for the time being responsible for finance, the National Assembly shall not – proceed upon any motion that provides for the imposition of taxation or for the imposition of any charge on the Consolidated Fund.”

That the Presiding Officer allowed the motion to be tabled and discussed as an urgent one is indeed scandalous and in most modern democracies would have led to calls for his immediate resignation. It is, indeed, lamentable that over a period of twelve months, the National Assembly has descended into such a gutter and has become a farce among intellectuals. It is nothing but a talking shop and worse than a primary school boys’ conference where practically no rules exist. The Speaker, Mr. Patrick Pillay, is obviously unable to put order in the House and lately has found it difficult to fulfill his afternoon duties. Given the prevailing situation, it would be only honourable for the National Assembly to dissolve itself paving the way for fresh legislative elections. 

Independent

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