MP Clement calls for early receipt of parliamentary documents

Member of Parliament for St. George North-east, Tobias Clement is pleading for corrective measures to be taken to provide Members of Parliament with parliamentary documents on a timely basis.

Clement who is one of two Members without a ministerial portfolio in government told the Lower House of Parliament that he only received the documents via E-Mail less than 24 hours before the House met last week Friday.

He said if Members of the House have to give justice to the Bills that are to be presented to them then adequate time is required to study the documents.

Clement read a section of the Standing Order of the House which calls for the Clerk of Parliament to be responsible for the preparation of the Order Paper containing the business for the sitting of Parliament, and to have the Order Paper circulated to Members of the House at least six days prior to the date of the sitting, except in the case of a special sitting.

He spoke of having addressed the lateness of receipt of the documents on three previous occasions, but is yet to see it rectified.

“I believe we should move to correct this discrepancy,” he told the session.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Pierre said the Parliamentary Office will endeavour to expedite the process of having the Order Paper circulated in the quickest possible time.

Pierre advised that the Parliamentary Office will work very closely with other institutions to have the documents ready on a timely basis.

He gave the assurance that the Parliamentary Office will do what it can, but “we can only present them as we get them.”

The outspoken Clement has been referred to as the “unofficial opposition spokesman” in the Lower House in which the ruling New National Party (NNP) government controls all 15 seats.

Party insiders have told this newspaper that the MP for St. George North-east has angered Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on many sittings in Parliament on issues that he choose to address.

They cited a sitting in early 2013 within weeks of the NNP coming back into power when it defeated the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) when Clement blasted those persons who were sitting in Parliament and owed the State thousands of dollars in taxes.

His remarks were said to be aimed at the then Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kenny Lalsingh whose family-run business had owed the Treasury over EC$200, 000.00 in taxes.

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