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Orderlies and Parliament officials have stand-off over shoes allowance

Published:Tuesday | May 19, 2015 | 5:35 PMEdmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

Two Orderlies to the Houses of Parliament were ordered out of the Chamber earlier today following a dispute between them and the management of Gordon House over allowances for shoes.

The Orderlies claim the $5,000 contribution they've been given towards purchasing a pair of shoes is not enough to purchase a durable pair of shoes.

The Orderlies, who were both wearing a pair of sneakers, were carrying out their duties by distributing documents which will be tabled later during the sitting of the House of Representatives.

However, Marshall to the Houses of Parliament, Kevin Williams, who supervises the Orderlies, told them that they could not remain in the Chamber as they were inappropriately dressed.

The Orderlies stood their ground to the annoyance of Williams who threatened to call the Police to put them out of the Chamber.

Williams subsequently left the Chamber and minutes later Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke, entered the Chamber and directed the Orderlies to go.

One orderly departed while another sought to explain why he was in a pair of sneakers.

However, Cooke would have none of it, warning that she would call the police to remove the orderly.

In a discussion with the orderlies, The Gleaner was told that over the years the Parliament has reduced their allocation from two pairs of shoes to one per year. 

The Gleaner was shown an invoice in 2011 which indicated that the Orderlies were given an allowance of $7,295 each to purchase a pair of shoes.

Despite this, the Marshall argued that the amount allocated to the Orderlies was adequate to purchase a decent pair of shoes.

The Orderlies carry out essential duties in Parliament, particularly during the sittings.