Yesterday the first Senate Special Select Committee was held and the first business of the day was to appoint a Chairperson to head the committee but that did not happen. Absent from the meeting was a senator representing the Opposition. In fact, the People’s United Party has taken the stance that it will not participate in the inquiry due to the terms of reference and current composition. Opposition Senator Valerie Woods reiterated that position.
“It’s a complete farce to participate in this committee of six, it’s very clear in the standing orders of the senate, I believe it is standing orders 727 that the order of the senate which was sent out by the clerk the only business to be conducted today was the selection of the chair and once that chair is selected then you can continue with the workings of the senate select committee. We understand that no chair was selected, the president continued to preside therefor in our view and in the common sense view of any meeting that is held that is null and void, there was no chair. Another area that we would like to direct your attention to is area 734 of the the standing orders; very clear. The chairperson of the select committee will, when it comes to the vision of the vote that chairperson does not have a vote, they have a casting vote. It is no different from the president of the senate and so there is a reason in our humble view why the government is insisting on a committee of six. On a committee of six where your social partner is the chair understand that that person does not have an original vote, only a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes. Now you do the math, with five there will never be an equality of votes. So you must ask yourself if you are the NTUCB which is a union and group of unions and if you are the business sector how is it that you can participate as chair knowing that you do not have a vote, that really speaks to good governance. You only have a casting vote of committee of six if there is an equality of votes, one from six means five and therefore there will never be equality.”
The Senate Special Select Committee meets again on Wednesday, October 19.