Lister pledges to forge togetherness
Veteran MP Dennis Lister Jr, the Progressive Labour Party’s choice for Speaker of the House when Parliament resumes tomorrow, has pledged to forge “togetherness” in the session ahead.
“I will allow a free flow of debate and provide the Members respect,” Mr Lister told The Royal Gazette.
“There is a certain decorum I would expect them to have on the floor of Parliament.”
The first orders of business, before the new PLP government moves on to the Throne Speech, will be legislators’ endorsement of the Speaker — followed by the swearing-in of the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and the other MPs, and Derrick Burgess as Deputy Speaker.
Recent years in the House were often heated, with former Speaker Randy Horton occasionally chastising MPs for their conduct after debates turned rancorous.
Asked if he anticipated a cooler ride than that of his predecessor, Mr Lister said: “Not to speculate, but one would expect the orders of business would be conducted in a more orderly fashion, with the large majority that the Government has.”
While the PLP’s solid 24-12 electoral win over the One Bermuda Alliance will give the ruling party greater latitude, Mr Lister said it was still incumbent on the new Opposition to “keep the public informed and Parliament informed” on matters brought to the floor.
In an interview last month with this newspaper, Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, had suggested that marathon parliamentary debates be curtailed as the “quality of the discussion went downhill” going into the small hours.
Mr Lister declined to say whether he backed the suggestion.
“Put it this way,” he added. “As the new Speaker, part of my intention is to look at the rules of Parliament, and see where those rules need to be modernised ... I will carry out a full review of all procedures.”
Although Mr Lister and Mr Burgess were selected by the party’s caucus last week, the choices were not announced until Tuesday night. Mr Lister said the “nonstop calls and congratulations” had come in since.
“I am graced to have the support of my party and my constituents,” he said.
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