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COMMITTEE MEETINGS MAY SUFFER AS DOZENS OF NAMS DUE TO TRAVEL OVERSEAS

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By Omar Bah

The Standard has been reliably informed that next month’s National Assembly Committee meetings could be cancelled because about 40 national assembly members are due to travel overseas. According to our sources, committee chairpersons and their deputies are due to meet today to discuss the possible discontinuation of all committee activities scheduled for May to allow over 40 NAMs to travel to China and other countries.

“Unless they change their mind, the committee heads are calling a committee of bureaus (today) midday and the agenda is going to be to possibly discontinue committee activities for the month of May and obviously I know they will approve it because majority of them are part of the travelling team,” our sources said.

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According to our sources, about 25 parliamentarians will be travelling to China on 9 May while 15 or more will be travelling to other countries.

“The National Assembly could have avoided this by allowing only the China-Gambia parliamentary friendship committee, which is composed of nine members, to travel,” our source said.

 Our source further said if the NAMs decide to go leaving the committee activities, there will be implications because there are important bills such as the Anti-Corruption Bill among others to be dealt with in May. “There will be a lot of incomplete tasks because the committees are the ones that feed the plenary. So, if we fail to sit for the whole of May that would seriously affect the plenary and the country will pay dearly,” our source added.  

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Last year, furious about the mass absenteeism of members leading to a lack of quorum for sessions last week, the Speaker of the National Assembly cautioned parliamentarians against being absent from sittings without his approval.

The meeting will be chaired by the Speaker who is the chairperson of the committee of bureaus.

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