New mechanisms for the management and functioning of an independent Parliament were activated with the first meeting of the new Parliament Management Council at the House of Parliament Thursday, 13 May 2021.
The council, headed by the Speaker of the House, comprises nine members as provided for by the Parliament Management Act, 2020. According to the law, the membership comprises the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Premier and three Government members appointed by the Premier as well as the Leader of the Opposition and two members appointed by the Opposition Leader.
The Chairman noted, “This is a historic moment as we have established ourselves as an autonomous Parliament and that we will ensure matters are addressed efficiently and effectively. Obviously, some issues will be dealt with expeditiously while others will be executed in a timely manner. Of critical importance is modernising our Standing Orders to reflect the contemporary times and render them more acceptable procedurally.”
The council functions as a sub-set, and on behalf of, the Parliamentary Management Commission comprising all 19 members of the House.
The new council members are: Speaker Hon. W. McKeeva Bush – Chair, Deputy Speaker Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, Premier Hon. Wayne Panton, Deputy Premier Hon. Christopher Saunders, Minister for Health, Hon. Sabrina Turner, and Parliamentary Secretary Mr. Isaac Rankine – representing the Government and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Roy McTaggart, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Joey Hew and Hon. Alden McLaughlin – representing the Opposition.
The Clerk of Parliament, Ms Zena Merren-Chin is the ex-officio, non-voting member of the Council. Also, as a result of one of the first tasks undertaken by the Council, the Clerk was appointed as the Chief Officer of the Commission today.
Under the law, the Commission is responsible for the administration and management of Parliament. The Commission’s functions include:
a) carrying out the budgetary, financial and operational matters relating to the Parliament;
(b) establishing the executive, management and administrative structure of the Commission for the necessary discharge of the functions of the Commission;
(c) preparing regular budgets, financial and operational reports for submission to the Parliament;
(d) providing clerical staff, attendants and other staff to enable the House of Parliament and committees of the Parliament to operate efficiently;
(e) providing advice on parliamentary procedures and the functions of Parliament generally;
(f) providing an accurate and efficient reporting of proceedings of the Parliament and of meetings of committees of the Parliament as required;
(g) providing adequate library and research facilities and services for members of the House;
(h) providing security services within the precincts of the Parliament for the safe, orderly and efficient conduct of the business of the House of Parliament;
(i) selling laws and engaging in similar revenue earning activity;
(j) maintaining the Parliament building; and
(k) subject to the Public Management Act, making such rules as it thinks fit to regulate its own internal management.
On the photo: Parliament Management Council members, headed by the Speaker, Hon. McKeeva Bush, met for the first time today, Thursday, 13 May 2021, comprising (l-r) Parliamentary Secretary Mr. Isaac Rankine, Minister for Health Hon. Sabrina Turner, Deputy Speaker Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance and Economic Development and Labour, Hon. Christopher Saunders, Premier Hon. Wayne Panton, Speaker Hon. McKeeva Bush, Parliament Management Commission Chief Officer, Ms Zena Merren-Chin, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Roy McTaggart, Hon. Alden McLaughlin and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Joey Hew (Photo by Bina Mani, GIS)