Parliament yesterday voted with 49 votes in favor to approve the motion of leave for Members of Parliament Charlot Salwai and Matai Seremaiah.
Parliament Standing Order 24 (1) states, “The speaker, any Minister, or Member may table before parliament any report, petition, paper or document dealing with a matter coming within the responsibility of Parliament and a record of such report, petition, paper or document shall be entered in the Minutes on the same day”.
Both MPs had written letters of request on the 26th of October to the Speaker’s office, informing him that they will be absent from Parliament Sitting on Monday November 23 to attend their court trial, if Parliament is still in session on that date.
Their request letter is in accordance with the Provision of the Standing Order 96 (3) of Parliament which states, “The Speaker may grant a Member permission to be absent from attending sitting of parliament on account of other family cause of a personal nature and the Member is entitled to receive the sitting allowance for such days determined by the Speaker.”
“I, as the Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu in this 12 Legislature, have responded to their request letters of the two Members concerned on Tuesday 3 November in accordance with the Provision of the Standing Order 96 (3) of Parliament, accepting their letters and i have excused them from attending the Second Ordinary Session of Parliament on Monday 23 November 2020 onwards to attend and complete their Court Trial Case,” Speaker Shadrack stated.
The Speaker said notwithstanding that the Acts and Rules made by Parliament are to be read and construed subject to the Constitution, pursuant to Article 27 (2) of the Constitution that provides:
“No member may, during a session of parliament or of one of its committees, be arrested, prosecuted for any offence, except with the authorization of Parliament in exceptional circumstances.
“I, the Speaker of Parliament hereby table this document for the Parliament to note, accept and endorse that the two MPs are to be excused from attending the Second Ordinary Session of Parliament from Monday 23 November onwards to attend and complete their trial in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Vanuatu”, the Speaker stated.
Prime Minister Bob Loughman wished both MPs the best in their case as it is scheduled for Monday next week.