House sits September 9

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Red House. Photo by Jeff Mayers

THE House of Representatives will hold one more sitting, on the day the current parliamentary session will end.

In Legal Notice 168, which was issued on Tuesday, acting President Christine Kangaloo declared that Parliament will prorogued at midnight on September 9.

On Friday, Parliament issued an order paper for a House sitting on September 9 at 1.30 pm.

Leader of Government Business in the House Camille Robinson-Regis said the purpose of the sitting is to tie up loose ends before the end of the current parliamentary session and the start of the new one on September 12.

Robinson-Regis said, “The main reason for the sitting (on September 9) is to carry over bills and the work of (parliamentary select and joint select) committees.”

The order paper for September 9 has a total of 18 papers and four committee reports to be laid.

The Opposition has 11 questions to the Government for oral answer on the order paper and has the option to file urgent questions on September 9 before the sitting begins.

Also on the order paper are four government motions for debate (including one in the Prime Minister’s name to approve the draft Elections and Boundaries Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly Order 2021), four bills for debate (one of which is the Whistleblower Bill), two bills relating to greater self-governance for Tobago (in committee stage) and seven private motions filed by the Opposition (debates on three of them were started in April, May and June respectively and none has been concluded).

The Senate is not scheduled to sit before September 9.

The first session of any new parliamentary term involves simultaneous sittings of the House and Senate.

Kangaloo also said allowance will be made for any MP or senator to attend the session virtually if necessary, once the Speaker or the Senate President has granted permission, owing to the ongoing covid19 pandemic.

Parliament officials said the opening of the new session on September 12 will be a ceremonial one. These feature an address by the President to a joint sitting of members of both Houses and a military parade outside the Red House.

The Parliament’s first priority early in the new session will be the 2022/2023 budget.

In July, the Prime Minister hinted that Finance Minister Colm Imbert could present the budget earlier than usual when the new parliamentary session begins.

For the last six years, Imbert has presented the budget in the first week in October. By law, it must be debated in both Houses before October 31, when the new financial year begins.