Mr Speaker, the Hon Member got his bearings wrong on this issue. He was right in saying that by Order 64, he may be forced to resort to Order 66 (3). What he ought to inform himself about is Order 66 (1), and since he quoted the Orders, let me also refer him to Order 66; and with your permission, I quote:
“(1) Mr Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question.
(2) When a Question is admitted by Mr Speaker the Clerk shall at once communicate the text to the Minister or Member to whom the Question is addressed.”
So, Mr Speaker, for us in the Business Committee, we act on referrals to us; that the Speaker has admitted the Question. If it does not come to us, we would not even know that the Question has been asked and admitted by the Speaker.
What is interesting is that a few months ago -- [Interruptions] -- That is why you are now here, so you were on the wrong path. You knew that and never complained. Questions could be on the burner for two years; they were not admitted. Today there is this discovery.
Mr Speaker, we are resolved to expand the frontiers of democratic governance, -- so, I would urge -- and I have always urged the Table Office that once the Speaker admits Questions they should
relay same to me, so that I would be able to track where we are with the Questions, in order for us to act within the prescribed time.
I agree that three weeks should be sufficient for any Minister, if he is available to come and answer the Questions, and if he is not available, given the urgency of the Question and if it is possible, to allow a Deputy Minister to hold the fort for him.
Since I do not know and I do not pretend to know, once they do not tell me, it is difficult to relate to them that they have filed the Questions and it is in such a state. I share in his predicament.
Going forward, we should define better parameters for ourselves in order for us to be able to ask those relevant Questions, because they are part of our oversight responsibility as Members of Parliament and as representatives of the constituents who have sent us here.
So, Mr Speaker, that should be enough to satisfy Hon Okudzeto.
Hon Afenyo-Markins raises issues that are outside the confines of the Business Committee's Report. He is an emerging Member of Parliament. I would suggest to him -- [Interruptions] -- emerging in the sense of radiance. I would urge him to resort to the processes as defined by our rules of procedure.
Mr Speaker, the issues that he raised are nevertheless very germane to the conduct of business in the House. Leadership would confer and see the appropriate medium to engage the issue that he has related to.
Mr Speaker, I started off by saying to the Hon Minority Leader that in my
absence and in the absence of the Hon Deputy Majority Leader, he was to be the person to represent the Business Committee, so, his asking those questions would appear as if he himself is asking the questions that he has just asked.
Mr Speaker, again, I think it is a very useful matter that he has brought. The matter relating to the Embassy of the United States of America (USA) and the treatment of Hon Members of Parliament, former Presidents and other similar personalities of similar description.
Mr Speaker, it is certainly not the best. When he related to the matter, I told him that the Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs was taking up the issue with the Ambassador and so we would have to await a response from her and know what to do thereafter.
Mr Speaker, it is important to recognise that this is not an event of today or perhaps even yesterday. The date on the text would suggest to us that it was done way back. If the Hon Minority Leader would advert his attention to it, when was it done? It was done in November 2016, and it is like because it did not register on our radar, maybe --
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minority Chief Whip has indicated to me that at the time, people were dancing “Onaapo” and so perhaps their vision got blurred, but it is an important matter.