Letter of the day: No work, no pay
House Speaker Michael Peart, at the opening of Tuesday's sitting of the House, expressed to the less-than-full complement of parliamentarians present his disappointment and embarrassment over a mere four members showing up to a recent meeting with a visiting overseas delegation.
Peart indicated that something needed to be done, as the situation was getting from bad to worse regarding parliamentarians failing to attend various functions to which they are invited.
We are all too familiar with the level of absenteeism in relation to the various parliamentary committees, several of which have not had a sitting for quite some time, because of the lack of a quorum.
The regular parliamentary sittings have not been spared, with many members seemingly viewing their attendance as optional, especially when an election is in the offing, or, as in the case of this past Tuesday's sitting, being the last before the summer recess.
Parliamentarians were elected to work on behalf of the people of this country and part of that work is their being in Parliament to contribute to the making of laws for the peace, order and good governance of the country.
Being absent from parliamentary and related sittings without justifiable cause, even though many, when present, hardly contribute meaningfully, does not afford them the opportunity to help advance the legislative process.
It is time we consider docking parliamentarians' pay for unexcused absences, especially when such absences relate directly to their job, such as parliamentary and committee sittings, as such absences effectively represent their abandoning their job without cause.
In the private sector, an employee who fails to turn up for work without being on approved vacation or sick leave would not get paid for the time off. Such should be the treatment of parliamentarians.
Would parliamentarians vote to enact such a law that, though fully in the country's interest, may not be in their narrow self-interest?
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER