Tag Archives government

18 MPs withdraw from parliament this morning in protest

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Bandarite Ahmed Attiyatallah

وأكدت الحكومة لمجلس النواب أن طلب الاستجواب المعروض مشوب بعيوب منصوص عليها في المادة (145) من اللائحة الداخلية، وبالتالي فلا يجوز التبليغ عنه، ولا يجوز أصلاً إدراجه في جدول الأعمال، وطلبت الحكومة من المجلس عدم إحالة طلب الاستجواب إلى اللجنة المختصة، إلا بعد الفصل في مسألة أولية يتوقف عليها دستورية أو عدم دستورية الاستجواب، وآلية ذلك أن يطلب الرئيس من دائرة الشئون القانونية بوصفها هيئة مستقلة لإبداء الرأي القانوني في دستورية أو عدم دستورية طلب الاستجواب، ومدى خلوه من العيوب الدستورية والقانونية التي نصت عليها المادة (65) من الدستور والمادة (145) من اللائحة الداخلية، وهذا حق للرئيس المجلس بموجب المادة الثانية البند الرابع من قانون دائرة الشئون القانونية.

وذكر الفاضل انها هناك مخالفتان المخالفة الأولى المتعلقة بالنطاق الزمني للمسئولية السياسية للحكومة والوزير أمام مجلس النواب، وصلاحيات المجلس في ممارسة دوره الرقابي في هذا الشأن، والمخالفة الثانية فهي مخالفة طلب الاستجواب لمبدأ الفصل بين السلطات، لما تضمنه الاستجواب من رقابة على أعمال الحكومة بصدد موضوع معروض على القضاء
إيلاف – Ù¨ مايو ٢٠٠٧

That seals the fate of parliamentary life in Bahrain. Non-existent would be a gross over statement.

22 of the 40 members voted today not to put the bandarite Ahmed Attiyatallah through the discomfort of being questioned for financial irregularities.

This is a sitting minister, a member of the ruling family and the main person accused of sponsoring sectarian strife in a report released by an ex-government consultant. He has copiously indicted himself while trying to wriggle out of the Bandargate accusations, but parliament, the body which by definition is put in place to over-see the government and ensure that democracy does not get derailed, voted today to not question him resulting in the 18 members of Al-Wefaq parliamentary bloc, the sponsor of the demand to question him not in the whole affair, but just the financial irregularities which he freely admitted to, walking out of parliament.

If anyone has any reason to believe that this is actually the “new age of freedoms and democratic life” in Bahrain, then they’ve better wake up and smell the stench.

update:
What apparently happened this morning according to an informed source is that the Asala bloc said that the Wefaq demand for interrogation was unconstitutional as it is construed as interfering in the judicial powers. The 17+1 Wefaq members withdrew in protest and to discuss the matter further, meanwhile and while the Wefaq members were out of the chamber, Salah Ali, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood Menbar bloc immediately tabled the motion to vote on the lifting of his member Mohammed Khaled’s immunity from prosecution as requested by the minister of justice in regards to the defamation case brought against him by the Bahrain Journalists’ Association’s president Isa Al-Shayji; with the 18 Wefaqis out of the picture, the remaining 22 members voted against the motion with only Adel Al-Assoumi agreeing to it and Al-Dossery abstaining, hence the vote was fully carried to oppose the lifting of Mohammed Khaled’s parliamentary immunity.

How parliament can refuse the interrogation based on their assumption that it interferes with the separate Judicial Powers and pass a motion not to lift the immunity of a member of parliament for the very same Judicial Powers to take its course is anyone’s guess at this duplicity in standards.

As to the Bandargate thing, parliament is once again expected to vote as to which committee the interrogation should be held in and that vote is apparently scheduled for Thursday.

The full BJA statement follows:

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Incentives are better than punishments

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You can beat the bejeezus out of people but that won’t guarantee that your message will actually get through.

On the other hand, if you talk nicely to people and offer them an incentive to do better or correct their ways, there is a very high chance that they will not only listen, but also fall over themselves to please you in the process.

Therefore, I am full of praise to our Ministry of Interior for thinking in a such creative way to and break with the age-old tradition of the stick:

Prisoners who behave themselves may be allowed time out with their families in specially-built villas.People sentenced to three months or less in prison may also be ordered to do community service as an alternative to actually going to jail, under pioneering plans.

The Interior Ministry plans to build four villas next to Jaw Prison, as part of its “Family Day” project, to allow prisoners of good conduct to be closer to their families.
GDN :: 24 April 2007

Now whoever thought of this creative process which will go a long way toward real correction of antisocial behaviour should be immediately commissioned to think of ways to re-integrate rioting youth back into constructive pursuits within the community, rather than this weekly occurrence of riots, stone-, Molotov-cocktail-throwing, road blocking, rubbish bucket-burning shenanigans that only result in throwing teens in prisons.

I suspect that he will probably conclude that the country needs to reform the education, labour, economic and political systems.

Oh hang on a minute, we already have that creative guy on board, he just needs to accelerate the process and communicate his vision a bit better and put those plans into effect.

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Isa Town local market panorama

Isa Town local market - birds section - panorama

Isa Town local market – birds section – panorama (6936 x 1484), originally uploaded by malyousif.



A panorama of the birds section of the Isa Town popular local market. I’ve taken a series of pictures, some of which I know that most of you would find objectionable as they show how crowded the cages are and what is actually allowed to be sold in this market.

It doesn’t seem that any government agency is regulating it; hence, you find people selling anything from snakes (poisonous and others), scorpions, all manner of birds from parakeet chicks crowded in filthy cages, pigeons, and even falcons tied and thrown in with the pigeons!

A walk through the other sections of this market would also show you stuff being sold, old and new, and I wouldn’t be surprised to know that some of the wares being displayed are “hot” stuff.

How the situation is allowed to go to this level without any regulation, at least for the health and well being of the animals we saw there is inexcusable.

Having said that, there are a few of the stalls which are better managed, the cages are clean and the birds and other animals seem to be better taken care of.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be any restriction on what could be imported and sold and no regard whatsoever to the environment in as much as importing animals which are simply unsuited for Bahrain.

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The minister recants and withdraws case

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Very quickly after lodging an official complaint with the Public Prosecution, the Minister of Electricity and Water has recanted and withdrawn the libel case against a municipal councillor after mediation efforts by the councilor’s colleagues.

استجاب وزير الكهرباء الشيخ عبد الله بن سلمان آل خليفة للجهود المكثفة التي قام بها رئيسا مجلسي بلدي الشمالية والوسطى يوسف البوري وعبدالرحمن الحسن، وقرر سحب الشكوى التي كانت الوزارة قد تقدمت بها للنيابة العامة ضد عضو بلدي الوسطى صادق ربيع، على خلفية اتهاماته للوزارة بالفساد في مؤتمر صحافي عقده الشهر الماضي.

وكان الوزير، قد استقبل أمس (الخميس) وفداً بلدياً ضم رئيس بلدي الشمالية يوسف البوري والوسطى عبدالرحمن الحسن، ونائبه عباس محفوظ، إضافة إلى عضو بلدي الوسطى صادق ربيع، وذلك للتفاهم والتنسيق بشأن القضية المشار إليها، فيما ثمن بلدي الوسطى، موقف الوزير واستجابته مشكورا بسحب القضية من النيابة العامة، على أن تسلم جميع الملفات ذات العلاقة للوزير لدراستها ومتابعتها مع المجلس البلدي
الوقت – ٢٠/Ù¤/٢٠٠٧

This is good news of course. Apart from the fact that – in an impartial judicial system – there is no way that the minister would win this case; the Ministry of Electricity’s reputation in particular is far from pure, he has shown complete intolerance to criticism and rather than asking for the allegations to be brought forward to be rationally discussed and any shortcomings identified and eradicated, he has taken the now fashionable line which is “sue now, ask questions later.”

What was the end result of this action then? A meeting between the two protagonists took place and promises were made that the shortcomings identified by the municipal councillor will be documented and treated.

Why this was not done from day one and save time and spent reputations is anyone’s guess. The result as far as I can see is that it has now become de rigeur to sue without any thought at what these actions by high officials actually do to the reputation of the country as a whole.

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mum’s the word

This sounds SO familiar!

وقال العضو البلدي ربيع في رده على الاتهام الموجه له: أنا قلت ما قلت من باب ممارسة دوري الرقابي الذي يكفله الدستور لي كمواطن وكعضو بلدي، وقد ناشدت جلالة الملك بالتدخل لإصلاح أوضاع الوزارة إصلاحاً كلياً.

وأكد «أنا لم أهن أية سلطة، وإنما كنت أمارس دوري الرقابي، وهدفي كان الصالح العام وليس توجيه الإهانة لأي أحد».

يشار إلى أن المادة (216) من قانون العقوبات تنص على أنه «يعاقب بالحبس أو الغرامة من أهان بإحدى طرق العلانية المجلس الوطني أو غيره من الهيئات النظامية أو الجيش أو المحاكم أو السلطات أو المصالح العامة».
الوسط – ١٩/Ù¤/٢٠٠٧

The councillor stated that: “I did not insult any authority, what I did was exercise my oversight responsibility and my intention was to the general good of the country rather than purposefully insulting anyone“.

In an email interview, the Jerusalem Post reporter asked me whether the troubles I am facing are symptomatic of attempts by the government of Bahrain to silence criticism. I answered no, of course not, I don’t believe in conspiracies.

I would like to change my answer now to the affirmative.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any shadow of a doubt any more. Any criticism is not taken as just that any more, an attempt from concerned citizens to better their lot and to act in a supervisory role and attempt with their criticism to correct or at least highlight the various ills they experience on a daily basis in their own country, but as personal attacks and summary insults that hurt delicate feelings of purer than pure government organs and their officials.

More gardening and photography posts coming up!

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At the High Court at 9:30 for 10:00

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We’re all gathering tomorrow morning at the Court building at 9:30. Cases are looked at starting at 10:00am.

It’s a freedom of expression case, any way you look at it. Please show your opposition to attempts to stifle this freedom by being there.

Thank you.

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The Constitutional court works!

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If you wish to see anyone in Bahrain having an immediate epileptic fit, just mention the numbers 8/1970 and stand back and watch the antics! Feel free to laugh or cry with them.

What you have done is infer that the poor mug has lost a parcel of land.

A parcel of land probably bought on a 10-year installment plan for which he has to sacrifice a lot in order to make the payments so that they might, one day, build a dream home on or leave for descendants or indeed keep as a safe investment. That law gives the government the absolute right to appropriate that parcel of land with everything on and in it (be it a built property, water resources, plants, etc.) for a price determined by a supposedly independent pricing committee, the members of which are all appointed by the Ministry of Municipalities! I have never heard of a “fair” compensation for any appropriate land yet.

There is another law – I could not find a reference to yet – which allows the government to appropriate up to 30% of any parcel of land without offering any compensation to the owner! This is even more damning and I think parliament is discussing a law to repeal it (or supposed to discuss it at least – when they finish from burning Shaikha Mai on the stake that is).

Therefore it is rather shocking to read the news reports this morning (Arabic) in which they carried an unprecedented move by the Constitutional Court yesterday when it issued a decision negating the constitutionality of Law by Decree number 8 of 1970 (Arabic) which dealt with the appropriation of land by the government for “public interest”.

This is very good news of course and one that I hope will continue to be the hallmark of the Constitutional Court. Ensuring its independence and protecting the constitution elevates the level of trust citizens will have in the country as a whole, as they are sure now that they can look to the highest court in the land to protect their interest and stand with them against unconstitutional laws.

Well done! More good news please.

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2400% increase in municipal fees!

When neighbouring countries like Qatar provide free municipal services, water, electricity and even local telephone calls to their citizens, our government in Bahrain seem to find creative ways in which to extract more money from us! This time, it’s a little increase in municipal charges; from BD2 per month per owned household to BD50! And that without it going through the constitutionally required inculcation of a new law regulating this change!

That’s not new as far as the Municipalities is concerned. They seem to make a habit of over-charging for the meager services they provide, for instance there is this little thing of overcharging a bank BD 30,500 (US$80,700)! Goodness knows what else is going on in that ministry, other than going into parliamentary education which, of course, is not one of its core competencies to start with.

All links lead to Arabic press articles

Update 7 Feb, ’07: This fee increase has been rescinded!

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