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Drama on display inside Gordon House

Published:Thursday | March 10, 2016 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Pearnel Charles arrives at Gordon House yesterday, ahead of being elected speaker of the House of Representatives.

The first sitting of the new Parliament was not without humour, pleasantries, blunders, and verbal jabs directed by members at each other during yesterday's swearing-in ceremony.

Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture Karl Samuda, whose extemporaneous skills in Gordon House are well known, found himself in a spot of bother yesterday when he tripped over his own name.

After being called by Heather Cooke, clerk to the Houses of Parliament, to take the Oath of Allegiance, Samuda took the Bible in his right hand and said: "I, Karl George Samaria (correction) Samuda ... ."

The slip-up triggered a chorus of chuckles and giggles on both sides of the aisle in Parliament.

"Mi never si a man call him name wrong," quipped a member on the opposition benches.

Derrick Smith, leader of government business in the House, did not have to worry about forgetting his name, but he fumbled on the names and constituencies of some of his colleagues.

"One Rasta at a time," said Horace Dalley when Alando Terrelonge, a dreadlocked newcomer to the House, was invited to take the oath.

Former member of parliament (MP) for St Andrew East Rural Damion Crawford, who also sports dreadlocks, served for only one term and did not run in the February 25 polls.

Kingston Western MP Desmond McKenzie was also in form, declaring: "Send home Mr Phone."

His comment was in clear reference to former MP for St Catherine East Central Arnaldo Brown, who was sent packing by Terrelonge in the February 25 general election.

Brown came under pressure from members of the public for racking up a phone bill in excess of $1 million while he was state minister for foreign affairs and foreign trade.

J.C. Hutchinson, the affable MP for St Elizabeth North Western, who has ministerial responsibility for agriculture, received one of the loudest cheers when his name was called.

Hutchinson quickly rose, displaying five fingers to members on the opposition benches, signifying that he was now ranked among the five-star generals who took the Oath of Allegiance yesterday. Hutchinson was being sworn in as MP for the fifth time since returning to representational politics in 1997.




Parliamentarians who had the same surnames had their moments yesterday when Daryl Vaz, after being sworn in, reserved a vigorous greeting for Dwayne Vaz on the opposition benches.

On his swearing-in, the latter Vaz returned the gesture.

The MP for St Mary South Eastern Winston Green, who won by a narrow margin of five votes for the PNP, sought out the younger Floyd Green on the government benches and greeted him.

When Juliet Holness, MP for St Andrew East Rural and wife of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, took the Oath of Allegiance and proceeded to give her husband a warm and long embrace, Fitz Jackson could not miss the opportunity for a comment.

"Too long, Andrew," he quipped,

Pearnel Charles, Speaker of the House, played his part when he symbolically resisted Olivia Grange and Dr Andrew Wheatley as they forced him to take the Speaker's chair.

'Resistance' by the MP-elected-Speaker is a long-standing tradition in Parliament.