KINGSTON — Opposition Senator, Norman Grant, has tabled a motion in the Senate, seeking to have the use of communications technology by members permitted in Gordon House, seat of Jamaica’s Parliament.
Senator Grant’s motion challenges one of the “hallowed” traditions of the Parliament, which insists that members of both the upper and lower Houses should make oral presentations; a rule that, however, has been breached consistently as members read extensively from prepared texts.
The motion speaks, specifically, to allowing the use of computers to access compact discs and other sources of information, on the basis that major developments in technology, generally, and moves by Government agencies to release annual reports on compact discs, necessitate the use of computers to access the data for informed debate of the reports.
“If technology cannot be used, then there is no way the information can be accessed,” Senator Grant told JIS News.
“There are a number of things that, as a nation, our Parliament must lead from the front on, and the fact that the whole world is using technology as a means of growth and development, barring it during the sitting of the Senate appears contradictory,” he added.
He said he is expecting the full support of the Senate for the motion, which raises an issue which has constantly been highlighted in both Houses. He also stated that he is optimistic, because it would be an appropriate marker, as Jamaica prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary as an independent nation next year (2012).
The motion reads as follows:
“WHERE AS a number of agencies of Government have started to table their annual reports on compact discs, which require electronic/computers to access the data;
“AND WHEREAS members of the Senate need immediate access to the reports when tabled, for purposes that include raising questions, seeking clarifications and enhancing the governance process;
“AND WHEREAS there is no provision in the Standing Orders of the Senate for the use of technology during sittings:
“BE IT RESOLVED that a review of the Standing Orders of the Senate be undertaken to allow for the use of technology during its sittings”.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor