Mr Speaker - Returning Peart has plan for new Parliament
SPEAKER of the House of Representatives Michael Peart said yesterday that he intends to preside over a Parliament which has a clear legislative agenda.
"I didn't get the impression that there was a strategic plan. We seemed to have been just hopping along from one sitting to the next and hastily making up things ... an ad hoc arrangement," Peart told The Gleaner yesterday.
In the last Parliament, representatives on the Opposition side of the aisle had complained about the absence of a clear legislative agenda. The then government was also criticised for being less than robust in dealing with private members' motions and questions posed.
Peart, who was among those who complained about the way the business of the House was being conducted, has pledged to right the wrongs of the old House.
"I will be insisting on the new leader of government business and the new leader of opposition business, for us to plan, and for the members of parliament to be properly informed and briefed before coming to Parliament so that we can have some useful debates," he told The Gleaner.
"I will be insisting on prompt answers," he added.
The South Manchester MP, who is being elevated to the seat of Speaker for the second time, also said "the level of indiscipline has to be curtailed", and that "reforms that have been talked about have to be put on a fast track to bring our Parliament into the 21st century".
In the meantime, Peart has told the House of one constituent who died shortly after casting his ballot.
Peart said the man, Cecil Byles, despite ill health, insisted he be taken to the polling station.
"I understand how elated we might be to be returned to Parliament, and some of us for the first time, but I understand the significance of that vote.
"I got lots of votes. I got 9,547 votes, but that vote I think was the most significant vote that I got. I have an obligation to honour and respect that vote in particular, among all others," Peart said.