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AG makes proclamation boo boo in Senate

Following an objection raised by PLP Senator Fred Mitchell in the Senate this morning, Attorney General Carl Bethel withdrew the laying of the proclamation of a state of public emergency in the upper chamber so that the Governor-General could formally convene the Senate.

The Senate suspended its business so that the law could be properly followed and reconvened at 3pm today.

 Mitchell pointed out that when the Senate last met on June 29, it adjourned sine die.

At that time, he objected to that adjournment without a date.

“This was particularly important at that time because the Government’s leader and I had an exchange and it was agreed that the Senate had to be convened within five days of the date of any proclamation of emergency,” said Mitchell.

“That became important because the Government indicated that on the 29th of June, they would be seeking the signature of the Governor-General to issue a fresh proclamation of a state of public emergency.”

“In those circumstances, the Senate should have been adjourned to a  fixed date within five days of the adjournment on 29th June 2020,” Mitchell added.

He also asked how would senators know that the Proclamation had been gazetted and the terms of what was gazetted so that they could properly as Senators know the timelines and whether the law had been followed.

“I argue now that timelines are so important in the issue of Article 29, that if there is one slip the action by the Government must fall away,” he pointed out.

Following this inquiry by Mitchell, Bethel asked that the Senate adjourn until 3pm to ensure that the proper process is being followed.

This blunder follows confusion in the House of Assembly on Monday when the Office of the Attorney General failed to deliver a Resolution to extend the Proclamation of Emergency made by the Governor-General on March 17 in time for it to be tabled in the House of Assembly.

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