Sun | Dec 10, 2023

Faulty microphone delays PM’s Budget Debate marathon

Published:Friday | March 17, 2023 | 1:27 AM

On Thursday, it was Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ turn to make his contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.

The prime minister started with much gusto, taking aim at the parliamentary Opposition.

But alas, the microphone system in Gordon House went dead, forcing the Speaker of the House of Representatives to ask Leader of Government Business Edmund Bartlett to request a break for five minutes to correct the problem. The House voted in favour of the request.

“That is why we need a new Parliament,” Holness quipped.

It is not the first, second, or even third time that the audio system in Gordon House has been fraught with hiccups in recent times, disrupting presentations by lawmakers.

It was standing room only in Parliament as members of the diplomatic corps, private-sector representatives, government officials, and other dignitaries sat in the gallery.

As the minutes ticked by, the failed audio system remained lifeless despite the frantic efforts of the parliamentary technical team and audio technicians from the Jamaica Information Service.

The five minutes requested morphed into 30 as feverish attempts to resuscitate the malfunctioning microphone continued for nearly an hour.

Eventually, the audio technicians, with the help of the police, transported a public address system to the location so the prime minister could pick up from where he had left off.

On returning to his presentation, the prime minister broke the ice by belting out the lyrics to Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder, “Ain’t nothing’ gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on moving”.

However, the prime minister’s marathon presentation would be beset by more disruptions in the hours ahead as at least two apparent power outages halted his speech briefly.