Sun | Feb 16, 2020

Standing orders still stand- Charles

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Pearnel Charles

Speaker of the House, Pearnel Charles Sr, has made it clear that despite the suspension of the no-sleeveless policy for government buildings there will be no changes to the operations at Gordon House until he is guided by the Standing Orders.

The Office of the Prime Minister issued a release last Friday indicating that the Cabinet had ordered the suspension of the long-standing practice of prohibiting women from wearing sleeveless attire on entering government buildings.

But Charles said while he has no problem upholding any directive from the Government, he believes that he should be instructed by the committee of the House.

"As speaker of the House, I am guided by the Standing Orders. So any changes (at Gordon House) would have to come from the committee of the House, which is made up of members of both sides, and until I am so directed, I go by the Standing Orders," he stated.

"Whatever relaxation is coming, or has come, or is to come, there has to be a document given to me by the committee of the House, and at that time, I have absolutely no problem abiding by the rules of the Standing Orders.

The House speaker added, "It will be my duty to question both the leader of government business and the leader of opposition business as to what, if any changes, have been made, or will be made, and when."

On the other hand, president of the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson has welcomed the move.

"To a large extent, I think people observe a satisfactory code of dress. During my time in the Senate, so far, I have never really seen members of the public in anything that I would consider outrageous," he said.

"Persons have asked me (for example) if I think people should go to court in jeans, and I don't have a problem with it. You can't really impose strictures on persons, many of whom don't have an alternative. So why should I ban somebody from coming to the Parliament because they are wearing jeans? I don't see the point of that," he continued.

"If someone wants to come and participate in the process by observing as the case may be, I don't see an issue, unless, of course, their attire is outrageous and distracting."