By Edrissa Jallow,
Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Speaker of The Gambia’s Sixth Legislature has warned Cabinet Ministers to avoid missing Parliamentary appointments and contempt of Parliament on the first day of the First Session of the 2023 Legislative Year which took place on 6th March 2023.
According to Speaker Jatta, Parlaiment’s Assembly Business Committee (ABC) has noted “grave concern that some Hon Ministers do fail to appear before this August Assembly on their scheduled business date during previous sessions. This is not acceptable to the committee and this has to be seized”.
“In this circumstance, the Assembly Business Committee strongly reiterates its various stands on any Hon Minister who fails to attend to his or her business as scheduled and non-attendance tantamounts to contempt of the National Assembly in accordance with section 75 (Vote of Censure) and/ or section 110 (Contempt of the National Assembly) of the constitution,” Speaker Jatta warned.
In an effort to obtain the list of Ministers who were absent from the previous session, Gambia Parliamentary Newsletter contacted the National Assembly’s Head of Table Office. Our enquiries revealed that “no list” was recorded for absent Ministers during the previous sessions and that the Speaker was drawing reference to the Fifth Legislature when the Minister of Justice failed to appear.
This is not the first time the ABC is warning Ministers to avoid missing scheduled Parliamentary sittings. It could be recalled that on Monday 21st February 2022 the Speaker of the Fifth Legislature, Hon Mariam Jack Denton suspended Seven Bills tabled by the Hon Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow.
The suspension came as a result of the Justice Minister’s failure to attend a National Assembly sitting on Tuesday 8th February 2022. Speaker Denton who doubles as the chairperson of the ABC highlighted in her ruling that the committee has “decided that all pending matters and businesses of the Attorney-General dealing with Bills [emphasis is on Bills] be written off [in] the current agenda of this First Ordinary Session 2022”.
Meanwhile, Speaker Denton further demanded that Justice Minister apologized before the Assembly which Minister Jallow submitted orally in Parliament as captured in a previous publication.