Lack Of Quorum Forces Parliament To Adjourn

Parliament yesterday failed to conduct public business as a result of the lack of quorum. After a debate on the business statement for next week, the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, who was in the Speaker's chair, initiated moves for the House to engage in public business, but the Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, Mr Alex Afenyo-Markin, drew the attention of the House to the fact that by his reckoning, the members in the House did not exceed 64, which fell below the number required for business to commence. Standing Order 48 (1) of Parliament states: "The presence of at least one-third of all the members of Parliament, besides the person presiding, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the House." In effect, at least 91 members must be present in the House before public business can commence. House adjourned Consequently, Mr Barton-Odro adjourned the sitting. The early adjournment, however, did not mean the MPs had a free day to engage in private activities. Some committee meetings began immediately and most MPs participated in them. Issues scheduled for the day The Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, was scheduled to answer some questions filed by Mr John Gyetuah (NDC, Amenfi West), Mr Kennedy Nyarko Osei (NPP, Akim Swedru), Mr Bright Edward Kodzo Demordzi, (NDC, Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro) and Mr Matthew Nyindam (NDC, Kpandai). Alhaji Sulemani was present and had braced himself up for action when Mr Barton-Odro announced the adjournment. During the debate on the business statement for next week, some members expressed displeasure at the time alloted to each member to comment on the Presidentís State of the Nation Address. The Majority Leader, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, presenting the business statement, said to ensure that as many members as possible made contributions, the Business Committee had recommended that the mover of the motion who should thank the President for delivering the message, and the seconder of the motion should be allotted 20 minutes each. Any other member who wanted to contribute would be allotted five minutes. Most of the members were displeased with the decision made by the committee and said the time allotted to each member was not enough. The situation led to some back and forth arguments which lasted many minutes.