THE NUMBER of Parliamentarians allowed in the House of Representatives chamber has been restricted as part of covid19 prevention measures.
Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George announced on Wednesday that additional seating measures had been put in place in accordance with guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.
“These measures require a limit on the number of persons in this chamber at any one time, subject of course to the need to maintain a quorum during sittings,” she said.
While Annisette-George did not specify the limit, Opposition Whip David Lee later said both benches agreed there should be eight government members and six opposition members present.
The number of government members was exceeded by Works and Transport Minister Senator Rohan Sinanan, and Lee protested.
Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis protested that he was a member of the House and was there to answer a question.
Annisette-George stressed the issue was the covid19 threat and ruled that Sinanan would have to leave until it was time for him to answer the question.
She pointed out suitable accommodation had been provided throughout the parliamentary complex, including the Cabildo building, and areas were outfitted with computers and screens for members outside the chamber to monitor proceedings. MPs were also encouraged to use their personal devices to stream the proceedings. Spaces had also been provided for the support staff of Government and Opposition including the staff of the legislative drafting department.
The measures will be in place until further notice. As part of previous covid19 measures in the Parliament the seats were separated for increased social distancing, masks offered to members, and people entering have to use hand sanitiser.