Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has said the Minority‘s boycott of parliamentary business was without an official communication, hence it’s a breach of the standing orders.

The Minority on July 6 and 11 absented themselves from parliament in support of the trial of Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson.

Per the Standing Orders of Parliament, a Member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat after being absent for 15 sittings, without the Speaker’s permission and cannot provide a reasonable explanation to the effect.

North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa raised concerns about the Minority’s representation of being absent without permission in the Votes and Proceedings of Parliament.

The Minority members were marked absent without permission by the Hansard department but they wanted to be marked present.

But reacting to those concerns, the Speaker ruled that their action is unjustified.

“Some MPs have been captured for being absent without permission, some concerns have been raised on the definition of walk-out and boycott.

“The deputy Minority Whip has raised a very serious matter on the fact that from his knowledge, some members were not present yesterday, but they have been captured as present, as it’s an indictment on the officers of Parliament,” he said.

The Speaker continued that “On the issue of attendance, Article 97 (1C) is very clear and that is what guides attendance of the house. So you can choose to attend or choose not to attend. When you refuse to attend, depending on your own action, you could be marked as absent or absent with permission.

“The burden now falls on the group to show evidence that my good self has granted you permission to absent yourselves in writing, not verbally; that any time a colleague of yours wants to attend court proceedings, you will solidarize with that colleague and that you will be absent so that the official report will capture that”.