Brief parliamentary sitting to table SOE regulations
Security personnel at an SOE checkpoint

THE tabling of resolutions governing the state of public emergency (SOE), which are now in effect in St James, Hanover and Clarendon, was the main matter dealt with during the 15-minute sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

They are the Emergency Powers (Parishes of St James and Hanover) Regulations, 2023; and the Emergency Powers (Parish of Clarendon) Regulations, 2023.

Last week Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared a 14-day SOE for those parishes in response to a significant increase in criminal activities.

The Emergency Powers Act sets out that regulations are to be laid before the Senate and the House of Representatives as soon as possible after they are made, and remain in place for no more than seven days from that time — unless a resolution is passed by the Senate or the House of Representative providing for a continuation.

At least 20 Members of Parliament were present at the very brief sitting which saw Speaker of the House of Representatives Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert reeling off the agenda items.

At the public business segment, Leader of Government Business Edmund Bartlett rose to thank the Parliamentarians who showed up for the single agenda item.

"Sometimes the exigencies of our job, and the public does not understand…the legal requirements to be here and to ensure that the business of the House is carried through, whether it is over an extended period or it is in fact a short period as it is today," he said.

"I want to thank members for breaking from a hard day's work yesterday [Labour Day] as I know we have done yeoman work in our constituencies…and to be here today to ensure that the business of the people is carried out irrespective of the difficulty that it might endure," he said.

When next the House meets on Tuesday, May 30 it is expected that the sectoral debate will continue with contributions from Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie; minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information, Robert Morgan; and St Mary Central Member of Parliament Dr Morais Guy.

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