By Ousman A Marong
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Mariam Jack Denton, has today suspended proceedings at the National Assembly for about ten minutes during a heated debate on the amendment of the Local Government Act at the Legislative Chambers in Banjul.
Tension has heightened in the Legislative Chambers after a private member bill was sponsored by the Member for Lower Badibu, Honourable Alhagie Jawara, who has read the bill for the second time and was passed to debate on its merits and principles in the House. The bill seeks to delete session 19 of the Local Government Act that says an elected official shall cease to be a member of a council if his party sacks him.
“I am not taking any motion. Honourable members, please I think I have taken enough interventions so please I am going out. I am going to suspend this sitting, so this sitting is suspended for ten (10) minutes please,” said the honorable speaker.
There was a heated debate between the members of the National Assembly over the issue.
On his part, the National Assembly Member for Tumana, Honourable Foday NM. Drammeh said he would not waste his time on people who deserved his silence.
“I would not waste my words on people who deserved my silence. I am really shocked because as a member of a political party, if today I can betray that party and stand in front of everybody talking about freedom, honestly honorable speaker this is a shame. We have all been advocating for the review of the Local Government Act 2020. There are lot of arcade laws in that Act of 2020 which we (the parliamentarians) are not doing justice to the people of this country,” Honourable Drammeh said.
He further questioned the rational of having an entire region electing a chairman who would become answerable to the regional governor that is a political appointee? He said he belongs to a committee where the local councillors would come up with resolutions that aimed to amend the Local Government Acts.
“Today, I am full of shame because what was said in that forum by some members and what they are saying today is like the east from the west,” he submitted.
Honourable Drammeh, said they all know what has been happening in the Kombos with regards to the law that states that all land in the Greater Banjul Areas belong to the State while the land in the provinces belong to the traditional landowners.
“Is that law not conflicting, is that law not bias to the people of kombo,” he questioned.