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One day parliament sitting insufficient, Cook Islands Opposition says
04:24 am GMT+12, 26/11/2020, Cook Islands

A speedy one-day sitting of Cook Islands Parliament later this week has drawn the ire of the Opposition Democratic Party.
 
Twenty-four Members of Parliament are expected to be in Rarotonga for the swift Parliament sitting this Friday, which will be the final gathering of lawmakers of the year.
 
“The opposition has asked why this sitting is just for one day and we haven’t been given an answer,” said Opposition Leader Tina Browne.
 
During the flash sitting, Parliament is expected to receive interim select committee reports on the Crimes, Agriculture, and the To Tatou Vai Authority Bills.
 
All three pieces of prospective legislation have undergone a consultation process, with invitations to the public to provide written and oral submissions on the draft bills.
 
An additional 17 reports and two amendment bills related to Covid-19 are expected to be tabled during the sitting.
 
In a statement to Cook Islands News, Browne - who’s also MP for Rakahanga - questioned why Parliament has yet to replace Tangata Vainerere, who was fired in March after the cost of renovations for Parliament's new chamber undertaken last year went 50 percent over budget.
 
Since Vainerere’s sacking, Browne said Parliament has been without a qualified Clerk.
 
“We have inquired what is being done to replace the previous Clerk who was highly skilled but again, there have been no satisfactory answers,” she said.
 
“If Parliament is going to perform and deliver properly on its functions and duties to our people, it must have skilled, experienced and unprejudiced people in important parliament positions, such as that of the Clerk, to achieve this.
 
“The Clerk has a critical role of advising the Speaker so it’s very important that this position is filled with someone who is experienced and qualified.”
 
At the time of his termination, the opposition Democratic Party defended the former clerk, saying he was force to take blame for the renovation project despite a low budget and unrealistic timeframe.
 
The position is currently being held by acting Clerk, Jeannine Daniel.

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS

 


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