Minister and her Deputy from this House to answer Questions. We also as Parliament have no business directing the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture on how to regulate and manage their affairs.
However, we would have thought that at any point in time, where there is both a Minister and a Deputy, at least, one of them would be within the jurisdiction for the purposes of providing leadership at the Ministry. That is why the President, in his wisdom, appointed a Deputy Minister to assist the Minister in the performance of her duties.
Mr Speaker, as it is now, we can only commend you because Parliament has demonstrated that it cannot play second fiddle to the Executive. So, where there are Questions for a Minister to answer, those Questions and the invitation to appear before this House, must be taken seriously. That is where your directive this morning points to. It conclusively points to the position of Parliament in relation to Ministers appearing before this House to answer Questions.
I just hope that Ministers who have listened to the news as carried this morning on your directive, would take this House more seriously. As Parliament, Question time is one of the tools that we use to exercise
supervisory jurisdiction over the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) that this House has approved resources for in the management of their various policies and programmes.
Mr Speaker, so it is important that when we invite them to come and answer Questions, we do so in pursuance of our authority and rights as the guardians of the public purse, to invite them to come before us. So, we cannot cry over spilt milk. The Hon Minister and her Deputy are not in the jurisdiction and the Chief Director has no locus to appear before us. What we can do is take this unfortunate situation and reschedule them to appear before us.
Mr Speaker, again, I would invite you to sound a note of caution. When persons who have been put in public offices to manage such offices are invited and scheduled for meetings in this House, they should take it seriously.
I concede the Hon Majority Leader's position that the letter that went to the Ministry was dated 22nd October, 2019, the very day that we resumed. They acted timeously by responding to the letter, indicating that they stood by the answers they had filed previously.
Mr Speaker, but, conspicuously absent in that letter is any indication that they would not be able to appear before this House. So, we were entitled to believe that having given the assurance that they stood by the answers, they were ready and willing to appear before us. However, as it is, they are not in the House because they are out of the jurisdiction. So we leave everything in your hands to say what could be done to remedy the situation.