Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Three committees of Parliament meetings almost aborted for want of a quorum

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The tardiness of parliamentarians on Tuesday resulted in at least three committee meetings of Parliament starting late. For each of the meetings to discuss the nation's business, there were not enough members to form a quorum.

"I was just about to abandon today's meeting when I saw three members walking in," declared chairman of the Constituency Development Fund Committee, Everald Warmington, 15 minutes after the scheduled 9 a.m. start.

The member of parliament (MP) for South West St Catherine went on to chide his committee members for their failure to take seriously the issue of the nation's business, dismissing their excuses about the distance from which they had to travel. In fact, Warmington commended Mikael Phillips, MP for North West Manchester, for his exemplary punctuality and attendance.


Phillips, who chairs the Infrastructure and Physical Development Committee which should have been convened immediately afterwards, echoed the call for his colleagues to commit to getting to Gordon House on time, highlighting the impact of their lateness.

"I appeal to you, if we are starting the meeting, be it 10 a.m. or 2 p.m., that we try to be on time," he pleaded. "Generally, just like this morning, we struggle to have a quorum for most of the committees," he noted during closing remarks.

Ironically, Phillips, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee chaired by his father, Dr Peter Phillips, was forced to endure a half-hour delay for the start of that meeting, again because there were not enough members to form a quorum.

Peter and Mikael Phillips and members of the auditor general's team were joined by Julian Robinson at about 10:54 a.m., and Fitz Jackson six minutes later, at which time the meeting got under way.

The Gleaner has since learnt that Robinson, who is MP for South East St Andrew, was guest speaker that morning at the Vauxhall High School graduation ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

- Mikolia Douglas