Aborted debate on UNHRC resolution : JO insists on moving Adjournment Motion | Sunday Observer

Aborted debate on UNHRC resolution : JO insists on moving Adjournment Motion

The Joint Opposition (JO) will make a request that it should be granted permission again to move the Adjournment Motion on the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka which was cancelled on Thursday (April 6) due to heated arguments between the Government and the JO over time allocation, JO Leader Dinesh Gunawardena told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

“As Parliament will meet again only in the first week of May (May 2 and 3), there is no hurry, but we will make a request to take up the aborted debate,” he said.

MP Gunawardena said when the JO attempted to move the Adjournment Motion on Thursday (April 6), we were not given enough time to debate it in Parliament. Of the 210 minutes allocated for the debate, the JO had been given only 31 minutes. EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda had been given only three minutes.

He said the JO has 52 MPs in Parliament but it had only four MPs to speak during the debate. If we take 30 minutes for two JO MPs who move and second the motion, the other two JO MPs need a minimum of 60 minutes to air their views. But the TNA and the JVP which have only 22 MPs in the Opposition had been given over 60 minutes. The JO which has 52 MPs was given half of that.

The JO was going to speak against the Government on its Geneva performance while all others were going to speak for it, he said.

Gunawardena said, “It was a conspiracy. The Government had been trying to avoid this debate. When I attempted to move the motion, only a few Government Ministers were in the Chamber. In fact, the quorum was also given by us.

Otherwise, it would have not been even a quorum for the Speaker to conduct proceedings.”

The Speaker saying that he has no control over time allocation is unacceptable. According to the Standing Orders, it is whoever in the Chair that decides the time of a speaker to wind up his speech or give him more time. We have explained this time allocation issue of the JO over and over again. There are formulas that can be worked out but they have to accept that we have 52 MPs in the Opposition, he said.

“There is no need to discuss this issue with the UPFA General Secretary. We have to discuss this with the Speaker. In a parliamentary democracy, the rights of MPs cannot be suppressed.”