Post-Election Parliamentary Seminar Urges Parliamentarians to Uphold the Highest Standards

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(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

From: Bahamas Information Services

The highest level of decorum and honour should be the bedrock of parliamentary procedures. That, and the importance of properly representing constituents, chief among the duties of parliamentarians as they speak on behalf of constituents in the House of Assembly and the Senate. Those tenets were among the core messages delivered to Parliamentarians during a three-day post election seminar held at SuperClubs Breezes, December 15 to 17.

The event is hosted by the Government of The Bahamas and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). During his address to the Parliamentarians, most of them new to holding office, Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis, QC, encouraged them to always follow the proper protocols when speaking on behalf of their constituents, meet regularly with constituents to ensure their needs are being addressed, and speak with ‘one voice’ as team members of the governing party.

“The Westminster system was established to guide the procedures of Parliament. It was not a system we created, however, it is the one we follow. It is a system that we can be proud of because it is determined to uphold our democracy. We are here to represent those constituents in whose name we are in Parliament.

Our representation must be truly reflective of the needs and wants expressed by them. Therefore, we must spend time with them, but not be enslaved by them,”said Prime Minister Davis. Speaking on the general procedures of Parliament, Mr. Davis said that being ‘honourable’ should always be the order of the day. “We are all deserving of honour and should always exercise being honourable with each other. We can do better, and today should resolve to do better.” He also urged Parliamentarians to regularly attend Parliament, and to be properly prepared to attend the sessions.

“We all suffer when we don’t conduct ourselves properly in Parliament. We must also remember that we work as a team. We represent caucuses and political parties, not individuals and as such, parties must speak with one voice. These courtesies and protocols have evolved because they work.”

Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Patricia Deveaux, delivered remarks welcoming local and regional Parliamentarians and said that Parliament opens on Wednesday, 12th January 2022. She commended the government for passing a resolution to appoint a committee to address some of the issues regarding Parliament, including the treatment of the Office of the Speaker.

President of the Senate, the Hon. J. Lashell Adderley, expressed appreciation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, for conducting the seminars as they will equip Parliamentarians with knowledge of democratic governance and proper parliamentary procedures to restore faith in the political process. Also delivering brief remarks was Leader of the Official Opposition the Hon. Michael Pintard, who focused on capacity building.

“I am pleased to see that the CPA included the adoption of best practices in conducting Parliament and access to resources for Parliament, among other matters.

“It is wonderful to see that we are meeting to discuss empowerment. Clearly, the Parliament of the Bahamas needs its own resources,” he said. “Successive administrations have not gone far enough. We also need to discuss gender equality and address the inequity of female representation in Parliament. I am also happy to see that the issue of disability will also be addressed. I look forward to the dialogue.”

Representative for the CPA, Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP, delivered brief remarks and said he was looking forwarded to spirited and insightful discussions during the seminar.

Minister of State for the Public Service, the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle said that she was pleased to participate in the seminar and looked forward to learning in order to properly represent the needs of the people.

Senator the Hon. Ronald Duncombe said that he was excited to attend the three- day seminar and looked forward to gaining knowledge on the proper procedures of Parliament and to working closely with his colleagues to properly represent the needs of the citizens of The Bahamas.