House of Representatives convened for the second and third reading of bills

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It was quite the busy day in the nation’s capital on Friday; the House of Representatives convened for the second and third reading of bills, while outside the House, protesters gathered to demonstrate against the SIF/Dangriga Market saga. We’ll get back to the outcry on the ground, but first we’ll take you inside the chambers of the National Assembly. Before the day’s proceedings got under way, Speaker of the House, Michael Pyrrefitte, took to some housekeeping, addressing the throw down between members of the House at the previous sitting. It all started when the Hon. Dolores Balderamos made an address concerning the conduct of the sergeant of arms,  Brian “Yellowman” Audinett. Mr Audinett, who is not in a speaking capacity, could not respond and so his close confidant the Hon. Michael Finnegan retorted at his fellow house member. Now there was much backlash after the incident, with many saying that the Minister was just out right disrespectful in his approach. Leader of the Opposition subsequently wrote to the Speaker of the House, on his behalf as well as the 12 representatives from the Opposition. In that letter, he requested that the Speaker address the matter and he did on Friday.

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte – Speaker of the House

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-08h12m12s219“The third comment raised by the Belize Rural Central concern: a Sergeant at Arms drinking a beer within the precincts of the National Assembly and other behaviours.    These are considered a legitimate concern for the Belize Rural Central if indeed these behaviours were true.   I’ve spoken to the Sergeant at Arms and told him that while I have never seen him behaving inappropriately, and no evidence has been brought to me to show that he has, he must make an extra special effort to not even appear to be behaving inappropriately.   The Leader of the Opposition is correct that the Sergeant at Arms has great responsibilities in this House, and his behaviour must be beyond question.   The Sergeant at Arms has assured me that he will accomplish this”.

The Speaker further pleaded with the honorable members of the House, to not treat the chambers as if it is the wild wild west.

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte – Speaker of the House

 “But the unfortunate events of August 7, is that the people are focused more than ever on the proceedings in their House.   I hope that that focus will encourage all members not to act in this House like it is the Wild, Wild West, and to make most of the opportunity to demonstrate to the public that we are capable as parliamentarians of the highest standards of conduct and the quorum”.

When that was out of the way, it was time to get down to business. On Friday, several bills were successfully tabled for the required three readings, some of which are the International Financial Services Commission Amendment Bill, the FIU Amendment Bill, Customs Regulation Amendment Bill, the International Foundations Bill, the Accounting Records Maintenance Bill, the Companies Amendment Bill, the Firearms Amendment Bill and the Criminal Code Amendment Bill. Those bills will now move to the Senate.

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