A total of 12 Bills have been listed for the First Ordinary Session of Parliament which will convene on 8.30am Monday, June 13 to June 20.

The majority of these are not new bills but amendments to existing laws.

These are: Bill for the Penal Code, Bill for the Right to Information Act, Bill for the Supplementary Appropriation, Bill for the Citizenship, Bill for the International Tax Cooperation Act, Bill for the Stamp Duties, Bill for the Utilities Regulatory Authority, Bill for Commercial Government Business Enterprise, Bill for the International Companies, Bill for the Land Lease Act, Bill for the Paris Agreement (Ratification) and Bill for the Stature Law.

Parliament has confirmed the dates for the Ordinary Session as advised by the Prime Minister from June 13-20, 2016.

“According to the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Parliament’s recess period begins on June 20 which means Parliament cannot sit from June 20-July 20,” said Acting Clerk of Parliament Leon Teter.

“However, the Government may suspend the Standing Orders.”

Article 46 in the Standing Orders of Parliament provided for a motion to suspend Standing Orders whenever the Speaker is satisfied that there is a case of urgent necessity for the proper conduct of the business of Parliament; (1) “…These Standing Orders shall be suspended so far as is necessary to carry out the object for which the motion was made.

(2) A motion to suspend Standing Orders shall require to be seconded and shall not take effect unless it has been supported by the votes of not less that two-thirds of the Members present.

(3) When the conduct of the business of Parliament requires, the Speaker may, with the unanimous consent of the Members present, suspend any specified Standing Oder.

In the aftermath of the suspension of the Special Parliament Sitting after the lack of quorum to Thursday next week as provided for under the Constitution, the Opposition Bloc has sought legal opinion on the legality of two parliament sessions being convened simultaneously.

The bloc questions why Speaker of Parliament, Esmon Simon opened the Extraordinary Session of Parliament on Thursday, knowing fully well the government did not have 39 MPs to constitute the required quorum.

On his part, the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, said the Speaker’s announcement during the opening of the special sitting is “Constitutional”.

It stated, “The Speaker’s opening of the Special Sitting of Parliament on June 9, 2016 follows the Notice and Summons for all Members of Parliament to meet for the special sitting and is constitutional.

“In accordance with Article 86 of the Constitution, if there is no quorum in the House during this proceeding, the Constitution requires an adjournment to reconvene in seven days, which is Thursday.

“As a normal practice in Parliament, the proceeding on June 9 is the opening of this special sitting which is still open until Thursday to be reconvened and the Speaker of Parliament on closing the proceeding has adjourned in the absence of a quorum.”

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