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Inquiry into Government’s handling of Covid up to MPs – Speaker

The Speaker of the House of Assembly has signalled to MPs that any one of them could ask for an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Dennis Lister insisted he had to stay neutral, but that a member from either side of the House could push for a Parliamentary committee to be formed to look at how the pandemic has been dealt with.

Mr Lister said: “It’s not for me to put that on the floor.

Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly (File photograph)

“It is for members to decide if they want to put a committee together. Any member can do that if they are in opposition or government.

“There was a committee set up to look at the December 2 situation. It could be a House committee, or a joint committee with the Senate if members vote for it.“

Mr Lister was speaking in the wake of a report in the UK House of Commons which examined Britain’s response to Covid-19 – and found successes and failures.

David Burt, the Premier, said in the House in October that a committee of lawmakers would be best placed to evaluate the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

Mr Burt said at the time that the Government had sought to establish “permanent oversight committees in the House of Assembly” after last year’s General Election.

He added: “I know those are written into the standing orders.

“The Speaker of the House and I are working to make sure they can become a reality.”

Mr Burt said he supported an examination of Bermuda’s handling of Covid-19 and getting “recommendations for how we can approach things in the future”.

He added: “It is my expectation in the next session of Parliament to have these committees up and running.”

The Cabinet Office, however, declined to comment on a possible parliamentary inquiry and said that questions were better suited for the Speaker and Legislature.

Michael Dunkley, the One Bermuda Alliance shadow health minister, said that any investigation should be non-political and designed to learn lessons from the crisis.

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Published December 10, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated December 10, 2021 at 7:45 am)

Inquiry into Government’s handling of Covid up to MPs – Speaker

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