How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2016 – 2017?

Susan Goffe lays bare the awful truth about Members of Parliament and their very patchy attendance record. Most are very unimpressive – especially Opposition members Luther Buchanan, Ian Hayles and Dwayne Vaz. Finance Minister Audley Shaw has missed a good few; I thought some of these absences may have been due to overseas trips (Washington, DC springs to mind), but it seems not. Something else “bugs” me, though: regular tweets by Gleaner reporter Jovan Johnson show the Lower House almost empty at 2:00 p.m., when Parliament should be started proceedings (see feature photograph). What excuse do Members have for these late starts? This is the people’s business, you know!

Right Steps & Poui Trees

In the past couple of weeks, the issue of the narrow margin between the Government (32 seats) and the Opposition (31 seats) has come to the fore once again. This is because Member of Parliament (MP) Derrick Smith, who is Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, is currently overseas receiving medical care and if he were absent for the upcoming vote, the Government mightn’t have the votes to pass the Budget.

Derrick Smith Gleaner photo Gleaner photo

Mr Smith is quoted in an article in The Gleaner this week as saying, “I will be available for any parliamentary vote.” And one can believe it, as he is one of only five MPs who were present for 40 of the 41 sittings of the Parliament during the year. He is also the only MP recorded as present at the sitting scheduled for October 4, 2016, when there was no quorum due to…

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