Clerk’s failure to exercise powers mars session

National

THE Clerk to Parliament has the power to order the dismissal of “strangers” from the parliamentary chamber, Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua says.
Strangers are people who are not MPs.
Kua claimed that there were five members in the chamber whose declarations were being questioned and they should not have been when the 10th parliament started yesterday to elect the speaker and prime minister.
“These people cannot participate in the parliamentary process, making them available to vote or for nomination and to have them declared and take the oath of loyalty and of office,” Kua said.
“We took objection so that these five can be ordered to be withdrawn from the chamber before the legitimate members of parliament can participate.
“Other people might say that we should take it up to the court room, that’s just one forum but there’s nothing that excludes us from taking it up in this chamber.”
Kua said parliament  can regulate its own procedures if there is an objection to be taken and the corrective measures to be taken on the floor.
“We were utilising the avenue provided by the floor of parliament to raise these objections.”
Acting Clerk Kala Aufa was in charge of the House until a speaker was elected, Kua said.
“The clerk administers the standing order, so if a point is taken or objection is taken under the standing orders, he has to make the correct ruling and he didn’t make it.
“We might have our opinions about each other on the floor of parliament but when the chief justice is involved that’s a different story.
“When Sir Salamo sat down and was prepared to proceed despite our protestation, we had to tone it down.”

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