Warmington halts constituency boundaries committee meeting
Lawmaker Everald Warmington, known for being meticulous in relation to parliamentary procedures, yesterday brought a screeching halt to a parliamentary committee meeting when he insisted that the Realignment of Boundaries report was not properly tabled and, therefore, the committee could not examine it.
Holding an electronic disc containing a copy of the report which was sent to Parliament by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), Warmington reminded committee Chairman Pearnel Charles that he had raised objection last week about the purported tabling of the report.
"When this disc was laid in the House, I brought to the attention of the House that the report on this was not signed, and if it was not signed, it could not be laid in the House," Warmington declared.
"Even if it were laid properly, the House did not refer the report to this committee," he added.
Respect must be shown
During a discussion on the matter last week, Charles, in his capacity as Speaker, advised Warmington that there was a signed copy in the precincts of the House. However, Warmington had asked that the document be withdrawn and laid properly on the table of the House.
"The type of disrespect and scant regard displayed to members of the House must stop. It must stop, and respect must be showed. I have been here a long while and the sanctity of this House must be respected," an incensed Warmington stated.
The committee chairman sought to have Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke, provide an explanation on the tabling of the ECJ report.
"If we so desire, I have no problem in allowing the clerk to answer you," said Charles.
However, Warmington quickly intervened saying the Standing Orders barred the clerk from addressing the committee. "The clerk can advise you quietly, but under the Standing Orders, the clerk doesn't speak in the House. I will ask you to look at Standing Order Number Five, what it says is the duty of the clerk."
Committee member Fitz Jackson and Peter Bunting supported the points raised by the St Catherine South West MP regarding the tabling of the ECJ report.
"Chairman, unless you have information that invalidates the points made by Mr Warmington, who is a stickler for parliamentary procedure, I don't think there is any point in us wasting any more of the members' time," said Bunting.
The committee chairman later relented, asking that the committee be adjourned and that the report be properly tabled in the House.
The Constituency Boundaries Committee is expected to examine the realignment of boundaries in St Andrew to correct
breaches in the lower limit of electors in the St Andrew North Eastern constituency.
In addition, the committee is to review the realignment of boundaries in Trelawny to correct breaches in the lower limit of electors in Trelawny Southern.