Tuesday, 17 July 2007 1:53 PM

Dr Roughan Clarifies Parliament Meeting Postponement

The Prime Minister has postponed the Parliament meeting scheduled to start this Thursday. The meeting has now been rescheduled to start on the 7th of August.

The Secretary to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr John Roughan, said decision was made after cordial consultation between the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

Dr. Roughan said one of the reasons why the Prime Minister decided to sought a postponement of the Parliament meeting was to allow time for the newly sworn in Attorney General, Julian Moti, to settle down before the Parliament meeting starts.

The other reason, according to Dr Roughan, is that some ministers would be out of the country for a couple of weeks and would not be able to attend Parliament if it goes ahead with the meeting this Thursday.

The up coming Parliament meeting is expected to debate a number of important Government Bills including the proposed amendments to the International Facilitation Act, which facilitated the RAMSI mission, and the Tobacco Bill scheduled to be tabled by the Health Minister, Mr Clay Forau Soalaoi.

Dr Roughan said Mr Sogavare wants the Ministers of the crown to be present during the meeting.

However, political observers believe that the postponement is related to the announcement by the Opposition MP for East Are Are that he would move a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister at the upcoming meeting.

In the past, the timing of Parliament meetings had been major focus of attention when previous Prime Ministers kept postponing Parliament meetings in the face of pending motions of no confidence.

Observers believe that if the Government was of the view that the upcoming motion of no confidence was likely to attract support, one tactic it could use as the case had been in the Parliament is to continue postponing Parliament.