January 27, 2021
By Kelvin W. Morgan
Members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the House yesterday raise concern about the recent measures put in place by the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Centre (NACOVERC) to curb the second wave of the pandemic.
They also raised concern about MPs who want to travel from Freetown to the provinces because exceptions were not given to them, stating that they should be the ones to make laws for the Executive.
According to the Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass C. Bundu, concerning restrictions to curb the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, they engaged with NACOVERC officials for MPs to travel to Freetown and attend parliamentary sittings as they had adjourned since December, 2020.
“At the end of our engagement with NARCOVERC, it was agreed that some measures be put in place but some of these measures that were suggested are that every Member of Parliament traveling from up country must be tested negative before traveling to Freetown. Also, subject to the curfew, any MP that might have essential function to attend should secure a pass from NARCOVERC,’’ he said.
He said all MPs coming from the provinces should produce their identification cards, especially for those that do not have their official vehicle number plates while those that already have the number plate will be allowed to pass the various check points.
He stated that for those who stay within Freetown,NARCOVERC is willing to give a quota of E-pass to them and some few staff of Parliament, adding that all oversight functions by parliamentary committees outside Freetown must be put on hold till further notice whilst those that are to be conducted within the city be carried out.
Deputy Speaker, Hon. Segepor S. Thomas, said there was need to negotiate properly with officials of NARCOVERC.
“Although they did their best but their best was not enough for this House. As Members of Parliament, we deserve the uttermost respect and it is only in Sierra Leone that you will see when throwing dirt at us that the public is all over the place happy, but when it comes to giving us our entitlement or respect then they begin to look at certain indices. We will not accept it until the right thing is done,” he said.
However, Dr. Bundu emphasised that they had negotiated with NARCOVERC officials to secure a safe and better travel from their various constituencies and “having secured that and now that you are safely here we can now revisit the conditions given to us yesterday but the best place to do it is not in this well. Allow us to engage with NARCOVERC to get things right since we already have them in our midst,” he said.
Leader of the opposition, Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah, said the issue of restrictions is very sensitive hence should be treated seriously as they might not come to the House for next two weeks.