Second time Member of Parliament and Minority Whip of the SLPP, Hon Eric Koedoyoma has said that the first session of parliament was not exciting as MP’s
did not have that freedom to debate because they were restricted.
The Minority Whip of the SLPP was giving his assessment of the first session of the second Parliament to Awoko when he said he thought the first session would have been more exciting than what he experienced in the last Parliament. But the MP said parliament did not have that kind of freedom to talk on issues as most times parliamentarians did not have the opportunity to participate fully in debates as they were rather restricted.
He said since it was the speaker of parliament that controls debates in parliament, it is at his discretion to either continue debates or not, which made the activities of parliament retarded.
He denied referring to the Speaker as being biased when presiding on debates but stated “there is an escape route in the speaker’s opinion that a particular MP did not catch his eyes and when he said you did not catch his eye that means you are not allowed to contribute”. That policy of the speaker, he believed affected the SLPP as the speakers’ eye did not catch many of them.
Hon Koedoyoma believes that the new SLPP MPs were above average and their participation in parliamentary activities was very encouraging stating that with time they will be able to master most of the parliamentary proceedings.
Commenting on why the SLPP walked out of parliament and also when they abstained from voting during the first session, he reflected “actually we believe in principles and I think anything outside of those principles particularly dealing with parliamentary affairs we will not be part of it. One example of it was the case of the last Bank Governor where we believed that the actions taken by the government to lay him off was not proper contrary to the Bank Act, that was the reason why we did not take part in the approval of the new Bank Governor”.
On the successes of parliament during the first session, the Minority Whip explained “I think we were able to survive it all and as parliament we worked as a unit in times of crucial debates on the lives of the people but certain issues that we think was not necessary we did not take part”.
What the next parliamentary session will be he projected it to be more pro-active than the first session and also because the speaker was new and has learnt many things to enable him make parliament more pro – active in its debates.
By Ishmael Bayoh