Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
The Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives Delroy Chuck says he is hoping the new session of Parliament will be more productive than the last.
Chuck, who is the member of parliament for North East St Andrew, described the work done in the Parliament since January as woeful.
"Parliament, since January, has been the worst I have seen," Chuck said.
Chuck stopped short of describing the work of the new Parliament as a waste of time. He lamented that it had hardly been active on the legislative front and challenged the Government to step up its game.
"We have not debated and passed any bills. It is really sad. I keep speaking to the leader of government business," Chuck said.
"Where are the bills? We left quite a number of them there that simply need to be brought back to Parliament. We brought some of them last year, but they have not been brought back. We find that we go to Parliament and we have very little to do," Chuck added.
It is not the first time Chuck has raised the matter. When he last did so in April, Mark Golding, the justice minister, said the proposed bills which he inherited from Chuck were not ready for Parliament.
But Phillip Paulwell, the leader of government business in the House, said Chuck's comments are "totally unfair".
"Our response to questions has been most efficient. We have taken on important matter to the Parliament and have dealt with them in ministerial statements and otherwise," Paulwell said.
He also noted that several bills have been passed in the last session, among them the Interim Telecommunication Act, which allowed for the Office of Utilities Regulation to set interim connection rates. The legislation has resulted in a significant reduction in call rates.
Paulwell told The Gleaner that the Government has unearthed weaknesses in several pieces of proposed legislation which were left by the former administration. He said in the case of the Telecommunication Act, there were at least two provisions in the inherited bill which, had it not been researched and corrected by the current Government, would have subjected it to a successful challenge in the court.
DESERVES HIGH GRADE
Paulwell said the eight-month-old administration deserves a grade seven out of 10 for its handling of the country's parliamentary affairs. He also said a slew of legislation is lined up for the new session of Parliament.
"We intend to use this session as a robust one," Paulwell said.
In the meantime, the business of the House of Representatives is set to resume with an order paper laden with work. Late last week, the Houses of Parliament indicated that on the resumption of business in the House of Representatives tomorrow, debate will commence on the National Parenting Support Commission Act, 2012.
The House will also debate The Civil Service Establishment (General) (Amendment) Order, 2012, Resolution; The Constabulary Force (Amendment of First Schedule) Regulations, Resolution, 2012; The Pensions (Parochial Officers) (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, Resolution, 2012; The Pensions (Teachers) (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, Resolution, 2012; The Pensions (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, Resolution, 2012; The Defence (Retired Pay, Pensions and other Grants) (Amend-ment) Regulations, Resolution, 2012; and the Petroleum Corp-oration of Jamaica (Extension of Functions) (Amendment) Order, 2012, Resolution (Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining).
During the period reserved for questions, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites will respond to a question from his opposition counterpart, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, on the salaries and emoluments of personnel within the Ministry of Education.