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MPs to have a say on public holiday proclamations

Sessions House (File photograph)

MPs have given the green light to legislation requiring the proclamation of public holidays to go before the House of Assembly.

David Burt, the Premier, told the House the practice under the Public Holidays Act 1947 had been for the Governor to issue proclamations without parliamentary scrutiny.

But Mr Burt said it had recently been found that the process needed to go through negative resolution.

Negative resolution procedures allow an order to come into effect provided no one objects to it in Parliament.

The Statutory Instruments Act 1977 states that where the negative resolution procedure applies, “copies of the statutory instrument shall be laid before both Houses of the Legislature as soon as practicable after the statutory instrument is made”.

Speaking on Wednesday night in the House, Mr Burt said: “The legislature was most recently invited to consider a proclamation for a public holiday on October 18, 2021 to mark the Olympic success of Dame Flora Duffy.

“The practice has been to make such proclamations without parliamentary scrutiny.

“However, recent advice from the Attorney-General’s chambers has confirmed that this is not the correct process.”

Mr Burt said that under existing legislation, a statutory instrument included proclamations – and that every statutory instrument made by the Governor was subject to the review of Parliament.

It came as the island faces a May 8 public holiday for the crowning of King Charles.

The legislative amendment, which also validates past proclamations, was passed with the backing of the Opposition.

Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, asked the Premier “how far back are we going” with the proclamation of public holidays.

Mr Burt cited the example of the public holiday last September 19, which was proclaimed by Rena Lalgie, the Governor, to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

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Published March 14, 2023 at 7:45 am (Updated March 14, 2023 at 7:45 am)

MPs to have a say on public holiday proclamations

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