The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has reiterated his directive to Members of Parliament (MPs) to stop accommodating outsiders on the premises of Parliament.
He stated that accommodating and tolerating visitors and their research assistants on their floors only helped to spread COVID-19 among other members and staff of Parliament.
He urged the MPs to bear in mind that when they saw strangers on their floors and they accommodated and tolerated them, they were helping the spread of the virus.
Keep human traffic lean
Addressing Parliament last Friday, Prof. Oquaye said: “Please, let us keep human traffic lean and do all we can do as much as possible. We know one thing that Parliament is not like many other places that you can simply and easily say we have suspended our activities and we will close down.”
He pointed out that Parliament, unlike other state institutions, needed to run continually to support the country in times of difficulty, stating for instance that very soon the Minister of Finance would come to Parliament to read the supplementary budget.
“If Parliament does not sit, the country will shut down and there will be no money. It is as simple as that. So as for Parliament, please know we are in a very peculiar situation. In fact, government departments can operate in case of emergencies separately and individually but Parliament is Parliament.
“So let us also be very careful about how we manage protocol matters concerning us. It looks like it may have to be the last stop; that is Parliament otherwise there is no country,” he said.
He stated: “Let us cooperate and make sure that anyone who does not have priority business in Parliament is sent away; report to the Marshalls office and security will deal with that person. We are going to be very rigid because we have a duty to perform,” he stated.
He issued the warning after he had informed the House that he had been advised that a few people, mainly auxiliary staff, such as research assistants who worked for MPs, had “broken the instruction” to stay home, contrary to his earlier directive.
“One person actually said that his honourable member told him to come; honourable this is the last warning,” he warned.
The Speaker told the House that medical experts continued to advise that the spread of the virus was facilitated by the movement of people.
Reiterating what he called his last warning to such individuals, he stated that auxiliary staff must stay away from the premises of Parliament and work electronically.
He further warned that those who failed to heed the directive and would be seen within the parameters of Parliament would be disciplined immediately, adding that “when that happens, nobody should come and plead for anyone; it will be breaking rule.”