NFP leader walks out of parliament

By Anish Chand
The National Federation Party leader has written to the Speaker of the House, questioning “why is the Opposition side not even allowed to challenge the government on basic facts?” 
This follows Dr Biman Prasad walking out of Parliament this morning after the Speaker refused to let him continue on a point of order.

Dr Prasad, in his letter to Dr Jiko Luveni has raised some questions which he wants answered.

I wish to know why I was not allowed to bring this matter to the attention of the House today. I also wish to know, once you have “checked the records” what you intend to do about it. If the record shows that my point is correct, will I be permitted to continue with my point of order?” wrote Dr Prasad.

The NFP Leader writes a Point of Order takes precedence over all matters in debate if it is raised well within the ambit of the Standing Orders.

“A point of order concerns, correctness and fairness in debate. A Member should not be restricted from raising it,” he says in the letter.

“The Point of Order concerned the need to correct a statement by the Honorable Attorney General yesterday about past events in Parliament.  I had just started to raise the Point of Order when you stopped me,” Dr Prasad added.

In the letter, the NFP Leader outlined what he wanted to elaborate.

He says there was debate on the Standing Orders to be adopted for the new Parliament yesterday. The debate discussed the changes that the Government voted through in 2016. At that time, it used its majority to defeat the Opposition to achieve those changes

The NFP letter says the Attorney-General claimed that the 2016 changes to the Standing Orders had “gone through the Committee stage”. He suggested that there had been a meeting of the Standing Orders Committee where the Opposition had not turned up.

“My point of order was to say that this was not correct. The records show that the Opposition attended every meeting.  A second meeting of the Committee to discuss the 2016 changes was adjourned. It was never re-convened. All of this is already on the Parliamentary record, pointed out by then SODELPA Whip Hon Isoa Tikoca on 11th February 2016,” Dr Prasad says in the letter.

We are in the first week of the new Parliament. This issue is important because the Standing Orders of Parliament set out how Parliament will function in the next four years. Why is the Opposition side not even allowed to challenge the Government on basic facts?” the NFP Leader writes.