Right Steps & Poui Trees


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How Often Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2017 – 2018? Do You Care?

Last week Thursday (February 15, 2018) saw the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament for the new Parliamentary year, with all the attendant pageantry. Opening of Parliament 2018 - Gordon House

This included the usual walk on Duke Street by Government and Opposition Members of Parliament, as they entered Gordon House for the first time for the 2018 – 2019 Parliamentary year.

The new year is always a good time to reflect on the performance of Parliament and its members in the past year. One easily tallied and basic marker is attendance. This is a very limited marker admittedly. It indicates nothing about other basic markers such as punctuality or length of stay at each sitting; it doesn’t indicate participation in debates or voting record. It doesn’t indicate whether or not MPs attended meetings of any Committees they were members of and whether they contributed anything useful during those meetings. There are many other aspects to an MP’s performance in Parliament. But attendance is a good starting point. So as I have for the past two years, I have compiled the attendance record for MPs and posted them on my blog.

TABLE SHOWING COMPILED ATTENDANCE RECORD FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT 2017 – 2018 (link to pdf document)

2017-2018 Attendance in Parliament a2017-2018 Attendance in Parliament b

You can also access the actual records I got from Parliament, from which I compiled my table: Attendance Record of Members of Parliament for Period February 9, 2017 – February 13, 2018

There were 47 sittings of the House of Representatives in 2017 – 2018, including the Ceremonial Opening and the special sitting to honour retiring MP and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. This is an increase over the 41 sittings in 2016 – 2017, though that was a shorter year, beginning in March 2016 after the General Election that February. Four MPs attended all 47 sittings – Dave Hume Brown, Delroy Chuck, Morais Guy and Franklin Witter. It is interesting to note that MP Ian Hayles, who had the worst attendance record last year (having attended only 19 of the 41 sittings), improved his record this year, having attended 36 of the 47 sittings. And despite the requirement in 81(1) of the Standing Orders for the House of Representatives that MPs give apologies for their absences, very few seem to do so, according to these records.

81. Absence of Members – (1) Any member who is prevented from attending a meeting of the House shall acquaint the Speaker as early as possible of his inability to attend, such notices to be in writing.

Do you care, however, if your MP attends Parliament? Or do you think it doesn’t much matter? One way or the other, you can – if you want to – check to see what their record was for last year.

Related Posts

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

How Many Times Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2015?

 


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How Many Times Did Your MP Attend Parliament in 2015?

Yesterday the Parliament sat at Gordon House for the first time in 2016, a year in which there is likely to be an election, which will determine who your MP will be for the next 5 years, approximately. (Approximately. Time for a fixed date for Jamaica’s elections?)

Parliament 12-1-16

Quick question…do you know how many times your MP attended Parliament last year? And I am not going to ask you the follow up questions – Do you care? Does it matter? Within the overall role and expectations of MPs, how highly should we rank attendance at Parliament?

I am simply going to say that if you are interested, click here: 2015 ATTENDANCE RECORD FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT – JAMAICA

This chart shows how many times each MP attended the sittings of Parliament in 2015. There were 51 sittings (including the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament on February 19 and the Joint Sitting on September 30, during the visit of UK Prime Minister David Cameron). The chart also shows the number of times absent, absent with apology, apology for illness, and absent on government/official business.

Parliament attendance chart

This data doesn’t indicate whether MPs arrived late, that is after roll call, though that is in the records of Parliament. It also doesn’t indicate how long MPs remained in the Chamber, or what they said or did while there.

It is interesting to note, by the way, that there were more absences generally from September onwards. Were MPs out campaigning?

Below are the documents from Parliament, which set out the record for each sitting and from which the above chart was compiled:

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD JANUARY 13 – March 25, 2015

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR PERIOD APRIL 7 2015

ATTENDANCE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR DECEMBER 2015

I’ll share the Senate attendance record for 2015 in another blog post. I am also interested in attendance at committee meetings, but those might take a longer time to collect.