Blackout disrupts sitting for an hour

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AN hour-long power cut disrupted the resumption of parliament and caucus meetings as sitting resumed yesterday.
The power cut happened at 1pm as members were having caucus meetings.
The building was plunged into darkness and electronic equipment could not work.
People, who had wanted to sit in on the session, were sent outside the parliament gate for the duration of the power cut.
Many people there said parliament was the engine room of the nation and the blackout and deteriorating facilities were unacceptable.
“Where is all the money going? The speaker needs to be investigated and have all parliament funds audited,” a person in the crowd said.
Several parliamentary staff voiced concern over the lack of maintenance there, adding that many of the facilities were deteriorating and in the same state as when the complex was built in the 1980s.
A senior opposition staff member said it was a disgrace for the house not to have a back-up generator when so much money had been allocated for its maintenance.
In November last year, parliament was adjourned to May 10 to allow for a complete overhaul and maintenance of the parliament building.
This happened as a vote of no-confidence was looming against the government.
Newly-elected deputy opposition leader and member for Bulolo Sam Basil raised the issue during question time, asking if the K20 million for maintenance was used as approved and, if used, why could the house experience a blackout for more than half an hour?
Acting Speaker Francis Marus said it was an administrative matter and that he could not respond as the clerk of parliament had to prepare a report to table in parliament.
Parliament resumed soon after 2.30pm and was adjourned to 10am today.