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Joint Select Committee calls for putting Parliament under one roof

Parliament and the Senate should be put together under the same roof as soon as possible, according to a report on Bermuda's governance tabled in the House of Assembly.

The Joint Select Committee also recommended that a new, independent body known as the Management Commission be established with oversight for the administration of the Island's legislature.

Committee chairman Cole Simons told the House that “our legislature doesn't measure up in the areas of organisational effectiveness and accountability”, and said the Committee called for a commission from across the political spectrum to manage it.

Such a Commission would be chaired by the Speaker of the House and would consist of both the Premier and Opposition Leader, the Senate President, four MPs appointed by the House — none of whom would be either Ministers or Junior Ministers — plus a member of the Senate, and the Clerk of the House of Assembly.

According to the report, this body would then handle the staffing, budgeting and support services for Parliament — delegating day to day management to the Clerk of the House.

The Management Council would also have the authority to constitute other committees as required.

The report calls for a comprehensive code of conduct, enforced by an ethics committee.

On situating Parliament and the Senate under one roof, the report calls the present situation “inefficient and costly”, and calls for putting the two together “as a matter of urgency”.

The lower house of Bermuda's Parliament, The House of Assembly sits in the Sessions House on Parliament Hill while the upper chamber, The Senate, sits in the Cabinet Building, a short distance away on Front Street.

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Published March 06, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 05, 2014 at 11:04 pm)

Joint Select Committee calls for putting Parliament under one roof

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