Right Steps & Poui Trees

How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2016 – 2017?

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In the past couple of weeks, the issue of the narrow margin between the Government (32 seats) and the Opposition (31 seats) has come to the fore once again. This is because Member of Parliament (MP) Derrick Smith, who is Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, is currently overseas receiving medical care and if he were absent for the upcoming vote, the Government mightn’t have the votes to pass the Budget.

Derrick Smith Gleaner photo

Gleaner photo

Mr Smith is quoted in an article in The Gleaner this week as saying, “I will be available for any parliamentary vote.” And one can believe it, as he is one of only five MPs who were present for 40 of the 41 sittings of the Parliament during the year. He is also the only MP recorded as present at the sitting scheduled for October 4, 2016, when there was no quorum due to the threat of Hurricane Matthew impacting Jamaica. (I am not sure if his attendance was due to his personal commitment or was in some way connected with his position of Leader of Government Business.)

Attendance in Parliament is only one of many measures of an MP’s performance, but it is a starting place for holding our representatives accountable. The table below sets out MPs’ attendance at the 41 sittings of the new Parliament which had its first sitting on March 10, 2016, after the general election in February. The table doesn’t indicate whether MPs were present for roll call at the start of sessions, though this is available in the records of the Parliament. Whether they stayed to the end of the sessions isn’t recorded, however.

One question to consider as you look at the table is – How much, if at all, does it matter to you whether your MP attends Parliament?

MPs attendance 2016 - 2017 aMPs attendance 2016 - 2017 ab

(Click to access table as PDF file: ATTENDANCE RECORD FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT MARCH 2016 – JANUARY 2017)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

The data for the table was taken from the following attendance records obtained from Parliament:

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD NOV 2015 – DEC 2016

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD NOVEMBER 2016 to JANUARY 2017

RELATED BLOG POST

How Many Times Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2015?

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Author: rightpouitree

Navigating the real and virtual worlds and sometimes writing about what I observe...

12 thoughts on “How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2016 – 2017?

  1. We could estimate Mr Smith’s commitment by comparing his attendance during the previous Administration, when he wasn’t leader of business 😊🤔

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  2. I actually remember from last year’s figures that he was one of the most consistent attendees, but he was Leader of Opposition Business during the last administration. Here I really was musing about his attendance on that one Hurricane Matthew approach day. Did he have to attend for some specific reason in standing orders or protocol or something? Or did he go because he always goes? 🙂

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  3. My MP (Julian Robinson) is a conscientious man and I see only missed two sittings. However, remarkable how few apologies are recorded!

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  4. Reblogged this on Petchary's Blog and commented:
    Susan Goffe lays bare the awful truth about Members of Parliament and their very patchy attendance record. I am glad (but not surprised) to see that my own MP Julian Robinson has only missed two sittings. Others are very unimpressive – especially Opposition members Luther Buchanan, Ian Hayles and Dwayne Vaz. Finance Minister Audley Shaw has missed a good few, too, although some of these absences may have been due to overseas trips (Washington, DC springs to mind). Something else “bugs” me, though: regular tweets by Gleaner reporter Jovan Johnson show the Lower House almost empty at 2:00 p.m., when Parliament should be started proceedings. What excuse do members have for these late starts? This is the people’s business, you know!

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