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Speaker tells MPs: ‘put your sneakers on, be fully dressed, and stay all day’

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Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House of Assembly (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda was “bent out of shape” by the shut down of Parliament caused by the failure of the needed number of MPs to show up last week, Dennis Lister, House of Assembly Speaker, said.

The Speaker expressed “disappointment” at the situation as he again urged members to “get their sneakers on” and turn out for today’s session.

Mr Lister was speaking after last Friday’s gathering of the House of Assembly ended in farce when not enough members returned from lunch in time to continue the discussion of Government business.

The event happened after Jarion Richardson, One Bermuda Alliance deputy leader, said that the required number of 14 MPs present – known as a quorum – was not met.

Mr Lister told The Royal Gazette: “I am always disappointed when we cannot complete a session.

“Bermuda was bent out of shape about this, but it is not the first time it has happened. Calling a quorum is a Parliamentary procedure.”

Asked if MPs should be more respectful about showing up on time, and if they should put their sneakers on for the next session, the Speaker said: “Put your sneakers on, be fully dressed, and stay all day.”

House of Assembly agenda for Friday

David Burt is to table the pre-Budget report in the House, along with details on the Bermuda Fiscal Responsibility Panel 2022.

The Premier and economy minister will also provide an economic update in a ministerial statement.

MPs will get the Department of Financial Assistance 2021-22 annual report from Jason Hayward, the economy and labour minister.

Mr Hayward will update legislators on the report – and give the latest on the island’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Michael Weeks, the national security minister, will speak on police recruitment, while Vance Campbell, the tourism and Cabinet office minister, is to give a statement on the island’s updated intellectual property legislation.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, is scheduled to give two updates: one on housing through the Bermuda Housing Corporation – and another statement on the Government’s solar energy project.

The legislative debate will include a landmark Bill on the island’s first minimum wage.

The failure of Government MPs to turn-up in the required time frame of five minutes under Parliamentary rules meant that the Speaker had to abruptly adjourn the session.

This resulted in a Government Bill impacting on minimum wage proposals having to be delayed until today.

The incident triggered a war of words between the Progressive Labour Party and One Bermuda Alliance.

The PLP said the Opposition carried out a political “stunt” to have Parliament adjourned, and the OBA accused the Government of “arrogance” and incompetence in not having enough MPs in the chamber.

When MPs failed to return to the chamber last Friday, the Speaker said: “Members who are in the listening audience, in the listening ear, if you are not present, I suggest you put on your sneakers and run to this direction.”

The Speaker told Government whip Neville Tyrrell: “You have got five minutes to get your members in here.”

Jarion Richardson, One Bermuda Alliance deputy leader (Photograph supplied).

Mr Tyrrell stated that 11 PLP were in the chamber at the time, while one of the six OBA members was present.

To view the Orders of the Day, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published December 09, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated December 09, 2022 at 7:48 am)

Speaker tells MPs: ‘put your sneakers on, be fully dressed, and stay all day’

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