JIS News

Government Senator, Trevor Munroe, has called on the media and Parliamentarians to do more to encourage members of the public to attend sittings of the Houses of Parliament.
Senator Munroe, who was speaking at last Friday’s (Oct. 20) sitting of the Upper House, raised concern at the lack of public interest in Parliamentary proceedings, evidenced by the decline in the number of persons attending sittings of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“I would like to suggest that this is not only as a result of public alienation and public concern with the growth of partisanship in our Parliament. There is another factor and that has to do with a simple lack of information. To my great surprise, students at the tertiary level are quite unaware in large numbers, that they have a right if they so wish, to attend the Parliament,” said Senator Munroe.
He added that “many of them would ask you if they need permission do so, or do they need a ticket. I think that we as Parliamentarians and the media can do a great public service by assisting in making the public aware that they can come, and they should come, as they are welcome to sit and to observe the proceedings of the Senate”.
“I would love to see the newspapers from time to time indicate what is on the agenda in its pages, of the Senate or the House, and at the same time, it puts a little reminder indicating to members of the public that it is free to attend, as this is definitely not widely known,” said Senator Munroe.
Opposition Senator, Anthony Johnson, concurred with Senator Munroe, noting that, “we have to seriously start to consider how we get people back to the gallery, because that is to indicate to the public that it is their business, and it is not only our business.”
In the meantime, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator A.J. Nicholson said it was time that “we get serious about having a new Parliament, which would include having a public relations officer”.
“We are 40 years old now and we need to do that because it is not really the business of the media to do it just like that. We need a Parliament with a public relations officer, who will give an idea of what will be debated; we need these things,” he pointed out.
“Another time, we are going to table a motion so that we just make some recommendations about going forward with this new Parliamentary arrangement including a new Parliament building,” Senator Nicholson added.