‘Rushing to pass laws’

Opposition leader Belden Namah during a recent Parliament sitting. Namah said the Government is rushing to pass too many laws.

OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah says the Government is rushing to pass too many laws because it has postponed Parliament sittings too many times.
In a statement, Namah said: “We have, before the House, a large number of proposed Constitutional laws at this sitting.
“Laws proposing to amend the Constitution or an Organic Law must undergo certain processes, including time for Parliamentary scrutiny.
“We must also be very careful not to change the Constitution too often.
“Otherwise, we risk weakening it.
“Worse, we could make the Constitution an easy target for manipulation.
“That is why there are set processes and procedures set to follow, including wide consultation and debate.”
Namah said Parliament had missed 40 mandatory sitting days so far in the 2021 Parliament calendar; those days could have been used for debate and discussions on the laws.
“If Parliament had sat for 63 mandatory sitting days, there would have been no need to rush these laws,” he said.
“We do not have the time to scrutinise them well.
“Indeed, it is dangerous to cram changes to the Constitution in this manner. In fact, we have passed many Acts of Parliament in this sitting where members have openly opposed provisions in these laws.
“Ordinarily, we would expect to go in-committee and examine provisions where there are questions.
“This has not happened. We have seen the bulldozing of laws.
“This is bad law-making and bad laws will emerge as a result.”
Namah said this was why the Opposition had not supported recently-passed laws relating to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd, Kumul Consolidated Holdings Ltd and amendments to the Public Services Act.
“In our opinion, the laws are not comprehensive, they are piecemeal and contain provisions that are quite discriminatory and direct breaches of human rights,” he said.
“We will be challenging some of these laws where we feel there are blatant breaches of our people’s rights.
“The laws proposing the repeal of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and the other one on the national goals and directive principles which the PM is introducing was only put on notice paper on Aug 12.
“It has not been circulated and we have not had the time to look through it.
“Has the Constitution and Law Reform Commission been asked to look at them as it should? If it has, then, are the reports being tabled in respect of them so we can be better informed like the proposals on changes to the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections?”