The practice of suspending the Standing Orders of the House of Assembly to accommodate all three readings of a bill in one sitting was criticised by members of the Opposition on Monday.
First District Representative, and Opposition Member, Hon. Andrew Fahie expressed concern about the practice during the 25 January sitting of the House of Assembly when action was taken to accommodate a financial services legislation.
In expressing his disagreement with the practice Hon. Fahie said: “I understand the urgency and I understand everything very clearly in this case, but I’m very concerned when we have first, second and third readings one time.”
“I am not against this move Madam Speaker but I do not want it to be the norm for any and everything and even when it has to be done, it is for us to find a way to allow the public to be fully involved,” Hon. Fahie said.
Leader of the Opposition, and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser supported Hon. Fahie’s statement about the exception to the Standing Orders. “As it had been done in the past, it doesn’t mean it is right to do it continuously in the future,” Hon. Fraser announced.
Former Legislator Hon. J. Alvin Christopher mentioned the situation of bills receiving three readings on the same day during the last legislature. During the 24 July 2012 sitting of the House of Assembly, Hon. Christopher explained that a Bill being passed in one day in the House of Assembly do not speak proper in terms of good democracy.
On that occasion, during the 24 July 2012 sitting Deputy Premier, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering explained that he is not fond of having bills receive their first and second readings on the same day because “it doesn’t send the right message.”