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13.02.2006 General News

Majority adhered to all parliamentary procedures

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Accra, Feb. 13, GNA - The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Monday said the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (CLPA) conformed to the legislative debating procedures on the Representation of the People Amendment Bill (ROPAB).

"The debate followed all the procedures required in accordance with the Constitution and Standing Orders of Parliament...after the first reading, it was referred by the Speaker to the appropriate CLPA Committee.

"The Committee decided that in order to fulfil its constitutional mandate, which enjoined it by Article 106 (4) to examine the bill in detail made all such inquiries in relation to the bill," according to the Party, which said the Committee considered it expedient to hold public hearings.

The Party's position was stated at a press conference in Accra dubbed: "NPP's stand on ROPAB; Exposure of NDC's sinister and morbid plan" which was also used to outline an attempt to visit chaos, violence, disorder, mayhem, social and political instability on Ghanaians by opponents of the bill.

Nana Ohene Ntow and Mr Peter Mac-Manu, General Secretary and National Chairman, respectively, of the NPP addressed the press conference attended by the National Executives.

The Minority had in a statement called on the Speaker to suspend debate on the bill... That upon the expiry of three months after the Bill was introduced in Parliament by the Attorney - General, a report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs could no longer lay it for any further discussion on it.

The Minority contended that after the expiration of the three-month period provided in Article 106 (14), proceedings on the bill should be declared null and void.

It explained that after the Bill had been read for the first time in Parliament, it was referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs under Article 103 of the 1992 Constitution. The Minority said the Bill had been the subject of deliberation at the Committee since June 14, 2005, for a period in excess of the three months, "by virtue of Article 106 (14) of the Constitution a bill introduced in Parliament by or on behalf of the President shall not be delayed for more than three months in any Committee of Parliament." The Minority noted that on January 18, 2006, more than seven months after the Bill had been referred to the Committee, its chairman should laid the report before Parliament, saying "the action was a flagrant violation of Article 16 (14) of the Constitution".

The NPP General Secretary accused the Minority of adopting populists' propaganda to confuse the public, "instead of stating a principled case as to why they were opposed to the ROPAB, the NDC had resorted to lies and deceit with the aim of causing anarchy in the country."

Nana Ohene Ntow noted that the NDC participated in initial meetings and deliberations on the bill, "in fact their inputs led to the widening of the scope for the nationwide consultation on the bill...but mischievously abandoned the ship midstream.

"We have taken the trouble to set out the record in detail because we are of the view that nothing untoward or unconstitutional has been done and all the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders with regard to the process and procedures for making law have been followed by Parliament," the NPP General Secretary stated.