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Jan 23, 2017

Senate Prez Says Course Correct in 13th Senator Flap

Osmany Salas

The Senate’s first meeting of 2017 on Thursday last almost didn’t proceed after Lead Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay of the People’s United Party introduced an amendment to the regular motion regarding adjournment of the Senate. It was intended to give the Senator representing the N.G.O. community, Osmany Salas, a chance to be sworn-in and give his views on the Non-Governmental Organizations (Amendment) Bill. But after vigorous debate and a short recess, Senate President Lee Mark Chang declined the amendment and business proceeded. Today, he spoke to us about his view of the affair and why Salas will be sworn-in in due time.

 

Lee Mark Chang

Lee Mark Chang, President of the Senate

“I asked from very early – from December twenty-eighth, I got a response from the National Assembly [about] when the meeting would take place; that was before the N.G.O.’s even had a candidate or were even halfway to having a Senator-elect. They did send a message to me and I responded in a timely manner. I was out of country from the seventeenth to last week Sunday, I think it was the twelfth, that’s when I returned back to the City and the next day I responded to Senator Courtenay’s response. The date was set [from] way before; I was out of country and my wife was ill and so I had to know a date in terms of coming back. I have a text here that I could show you afterwards, that from December twenty-eighth the meeting was set.”

 

Reporter

“So it was clear that that had nothing to do with the Commencement Order or anything to do with the Thirteenth Senator – it was already set as you said?”

 

Lee Mark Chang

“In my point of view it was already set already, and your question just now in terms of their trying to block the Senate from continuing – this country have to move, mi bally; we can’t di hold and wait for one person, we need to move on, and they made an attempt, and of course I had the Standing Orders ready, but I suspended the sitting so that I could make sure everything was in order, and I came back to gave my decision.”

 

Reporter

“That suspension – not to go into details, but that was to meet with both sides or one side?”

 

Lee Mark Chang

“We did meet with the Government side and of course we had a short conversation with the Leader of the Opposition in reference to that, and that’s how the decision came along.”

 

Reporter

“And then obviously when the next meeting is held, that is when Mister Salas will be sworn in.”

 

Lee Mark Chang

“Yes, that is when he will be sworn in, and he will have to know his Standing Orders, and he will have to know that there is a time and place for everything.”

 

No date has been set for the next senate meeting.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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