Today’s House of Assembly meeting ended in absurdity, with an adequate number of MPs making themselves available to form a legitimate quorum for the post-lunch session.
Despite a plea from Speaker Dennis Lister, which was carried over public broadcast portals, the minimum of 14 members — out of 36 elected officials, 30 of which represent the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) — could not be reached in order for House discussions to proceed.
Mr Lister went so far as to urge those that remained absent as of the lunch period to “put their sneakers on” and make a ‘dash’ back to Parliament, however such calls fell on deaf ears.
“Members who are in the listening audience, in the listening ear,” began the Speaker. “If you are not present, I suggest you put on your sneakers and run in this direction.”.
He further explained how parliamentary rules stipulated that the required quorum figure needed to be achieved within five minutes of the start of the session, without which the meeting must be adjourned, which became the case.
One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) deputy leader, Jarion Richardson, initially brought to light the issue of there being a lack of bodies inside room and forwarded his concern over the country’s leadership regarding the situation, being quoted in The Royal Gazette as saying:
“It smacks of arrogance and hubris. There were a lot of empty chairs.
“A quorum isn’t useless protocol – it’s how we make sure that there is enough general population Bermudian voices participating in every debate.
“I would imagine it is quite embarrassing for David Burt. The Government couldn’t sustain a quorum to pass legislation?
“Then how are you supposed to solve the problems facing Bermuda? They were supposed to field a team and they couldn’t do that.”
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Photo courtesy of the RG