Speaker: Parliamentary standards need to be raised

Moultrie says many parliamentarians are unaware of the rules

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — House Speaker Halson Moultrie believes the standards and level of parliamentary debates need to be raised.

Moultrie and Deputy Speaker Don Saunders were guests on Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson on Wednesday, where they were asked if they believed the level of debate in Parliament had been dumbed down.

“Yes I do,” Moultrie said, “and that is one of the reasons why I try to function in the manner that I do.

“I believe that we should be role models in society in Parliament.

Moultrie continued: “I believe that the institution must advance to the point where we have a proper library, proper research, so all parliamentarians can be well-versed in certain matters.

“The Parliament is the place where we pass, amend and repeal laws, so all parliamentarians whether they are attorneys or not, should be familiar with the process and the procedure and all parliamentarians should be able to speak off the cuff.”

Moultrie and Saunders appeared on the show to mark the 290th anniversary of parliamentary democracy.

Acknowledging his own lack of experience, Moultrie said there were a lot of parliamentary rules that were unknown to him and his colleagues.

Moving forward, he said he planned to enforce these rules, such as, parliamentarians not being allowed to read verbatim from speeches.

“One of the rules of Parliament is that no delivery/[presentation] in Parliament should be read. I sort of relaxed that rule.

“…That is the way it has been and I am trying to gradually and incrementally change that because that is one of the rules that should [be enforced].”

Parliament is expected to reconvene from its summer break next week.