NO quorum in Parliament yesterday has forced the Legislative Assembly to adjourn until next Monday, August 17, 2015.
According to clause 69 of the Constitution, a quorum of 13 Members, including the Speaker, is required to constitute a meeting of the House for the exercise of its powers.
Only 11 MPs attended yesterday’s sitting including the Speaker, three Cabinet Ministers, 4 People’s Representatives and Nobles Representatives respectively.
Cabinet Ministers included the Hon. Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. ‘Aisake Eke, Hon. Minister of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources Lord Ma’afu and the Minister responsible for Inland Revenue Services Hon. Tevita Lavemaau.
The People’s Representatives attended were Tongatapu 2 MP & Chairperson of the Whole House Committee Semisi Sika, Tongatapu 4 MP – Mateni Tapueluelu, Ha’apai 13 MP Veivosa Taka and Penisimani Fifita the MP for Tongatapu 9 constituency.
Noble Representatives included the Speaker Lord Tu’ivakano, Lord Vaea (Noble Representative Number 1 of Tongatapu) and Ha’apai Noble Representatives to Parliament Lord Tu’iha’angana and Lord Tu’iaha’ateiho.
Speaker of Parliament, Lord Tu’ivakano informed the House two letters submitted from Cabinet called for further adjournment of Parliament. One letter called for reconvene of the House last Monday while the second one stated the Cabinet Ministers would not be available to attend session until Thursday, August 13.
It was with the intention to allow MPs to attend the Royal Agricultural show and other official engagement overseas.
For this reason, the House is scheduled to sit next Monday.
Tu’ivakano said the Executive Members’ frequent absence in the current parliamentary sitting is the worse so far, therefore called on Cabinet MPs to further improve their attendance.
“There’s a need for us to work together to carry out the roles and functions of Parliament,” stressed the Lord Speaker.
Parliament’s last sitting was on June 23, 2015 when it approved the national budget 2015/2016.