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Jan 19, 2017

After Debate, Courtenay Told He Is Out of Order

Stephen Duncan

There followed a rough-and-tumble debate about the necessity for the amendment, especially when it was pointed out by several Government Senators, most notably Stephen Duncan, that not having the N.G.O.’s Senator in place would not hamper the Senate’s duties, whereas the postponement would. Newly-appointed Senator and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte took his oath and was welcomed without incident. But he suggested that the N.G.O. community understood that theirs was a stroke of bad luck which would soon be remedied. Senator Aldo Salazar further questioned the timing of the motion. In the end, after a short break for discussion, the President sided with Salazar and ruled the amendment out of order.

 

Stephen Duncan, U.D.P. Senator

“I am a little surprised if we are being asked to accept, or it is being suggested, that this Senate cannot function without a thirteenth member. We have always had the quorum that we have; even if you add a thirteenth Senator, I am not aware that there is any intention to change the quorum for a meeting. Even in adding the thirteenth Senator the quorum calls for, as far as I can recall vaguely – I didn’t have time to research it, it just came on me – I think it’s three. So as long as we have a quorum, it is mind-boggling why we should not have a meeting?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“Mr. President, what is a thirteenth Senator? There is no such thing as a thirteenth Senator. There are thirteen Senators when the next person is sworn in. We are all a part of thirteen Senators – we are all number one, and we are all number thirteen. We do not pause the business of the people to accommodate one person – we are here, we have a quorum, and we should move on. And the next thing I have to wonder: Senator Courtenay is so interested in adjourning an entire Senate meeting to accommodate one Senator – I mean, is this a person who will be a Senator for the N.G.O. community, or is this a Senator for the People’s United Party? I would have thought – that not even they are clamouring to that extent; they are not protesting outside; they are not making any huge argument to come in here; they fully understand that their person will be appointed when their person is appointed.”

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, U.D.P. Senator

“In my view, Senator Courtenay’s motion is out of order, because it is not a matter that can be properly exempted from notice. If the Opposition wanted us not to have any sitting today, that is a different matter. You do not require notice to amend a motion, but what they are seeking to do is not to amend the motion. The motion…(Interruption) …then you require notice. What they are seeking to do is not to amend what the motion is. The motion is that at the end of the sitting today…at the end of the sitting today, at the end of today’s sitting, you adjourn to a further date. This is a new motion not to have any sitting today; then you need to have notice for something like that.”

 

Lee Mark Chang, President of the Senate

“Good morning, Senators. Based on Standing Order 9(2) and 9(5), I will not allow the motion to be amended, Senator Courtenay, and we will move on. Honorable Members, the question is that at its rising today, the Senate adjourn to a date to be fixed by the President. All those in favour, kindly say aye? (Voices saying “aye”) Those against, kindly say no? (Silence) I think the ayes have it.”

 

The matter of the Thirteenth Senator would be revisited in the debate over the N.G.O. Act (Amendment) Bill.

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