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Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has outlined a series of strict restrictions that will be put into effect beginning next year in an attempt to address the recurring problem of Member of Parliament, (MPs) arriving late for work.

As per the suggested modifications, on every planned sitting day, entry points to the parliamentary chamber shall be promptly locked at 10:00 AM.

Members of Parliament who arrive late will be shut out until the Speaker decides it is acceptable to unlock the doors again. Speaker Bagbin has proposed changing the start time of parliamentary sessions from the present 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM as an alternate strategy.

The purpose of this change is to allow parliamentary committees to convene in the morning so that reports can be ready for discussion in the afternoon sessions.

Speaker Bagbin acknowledged the difficulties caused by early morning sessions and urged both caucuses to participate in dialogue and offer workable substitutes for the planned actions. He underlined the value of engaging in dialogue to create a consensus; in the event that one cannot be reached, the measures listed will take effect at the start of the following legislative session.

During his announcement to MPs on Friday, December 8, Speaker Bagbin explained, “At 10 am, the doors will be locked. The Speaker will be in and it will take some time before the doors will be opened. Not that they won’t be opened but it will take some time. And so if you are not able to comply with it, let us all agree that we will start sitting in the afternoon, from 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.; the Committees will have their meetings in the morning; reports will be ready for us to consider in the afternoon; and then by the time we adjourn around 8 p.m., the traffic situation will have improved.

“Your coming to Parliament too will not be that early, so you can decide to leave at noon and by that time, there would have been less traffic and you won’t consume more fuel and then you can come in. I can see that it is not easy for members to report that early for sitting so the two Caucuses either have joint Caucus meetings or, at your level, discuss these things and come back with proposals. If not, these are the measures that I want to put in place which will take effect from our next meeting.”

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