Western Speaker clarifies political impasse

Provincial Assembly Hon Speaker Adrian Sinabule Gina
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Speaker of Western Province Adrian Gina says he has been fair to both sides of the Assembly when he adjourned the last meeting to November 7 due to lack of quorum.

Despite the November 7 adjournment, 17 provincial members who are challenging Premier David Gina’s leadership on Monday this week held an Assembly meeting following instructions from the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) Extraordinary Gazette Notice on October 14.

The ministry’s intervention has pushed the political impasse in Western province into the court for judicial review after Premier Gina challenged the order.

Speaker Gina said the bottom line of what actually happen was there were two notices issued to convene the Assembly meeting on 8 July and 28 August but prior to the day of the sitting on 28 August, five members of the executives resigned on 21st of August.

He said because of that he took time to get the position of the ruling government on their situation so he further moved the meeting to 21 September.

He said during that meeting only eight members of the ruling government attended while 18 provincial members boycotted it.

So, he invoked standing order 71 to get a quorum.

Under the standing order 71 it states that when at any time during a sitting (a) the Speaker determines a quorum is not present, (b) a member draws the speaker’s attention to the lack of a quorum the proceeding shall not continue until a quorum is present.

Based on that he adjourned the meeting to November 7.

“They were given the opportunity to debate the decision on the floor of the Assembly on 21st September.

“Right after I adjourned the meeting, they were caught by surprised and in respond they gave one petition and motion of no confidence but I already adjourn it.

“This is where the point of argument started.,” he said.

Gina said if they don’t agree on his decision the only place to sort out their disagreement is in the court.

“I cannot leave this office when these are still hanging on my neck,” he said.

Sharing his view on the litigation, leader of the non-executive group Ramrakha Talasasa said the Assembly is the right place to solve the political impasse and not the court.

He said the litigation will be time consuming and those who will suffer the most are the people of Western Province.

Talasasa said the public of Western Province has been a bystander with lots of questions pending answers.

“Just for public’s information, of course there are opportunities to go to court with these issues but we don’t feel that the court is the right place to address these matters.”