It might not have been the lofty Parliament building to which members of the Lower House are accustomed, but it was business as usual as they conducted the country’s affairs at the Worthing Corporate Centre today.
Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, and technocrats arrived at the Christ Church location, the former home of Resolution Life, from as early as 8 a.m. for the sitting of the House of Assembly at which the Estimates were debated.
The move was made so environmental problems at the Parliament buildings could be rectified.
Several Members of Parliament told members of the media that they had no issues with the chosen location and said they were ready to carry on with the people’s business.
On his arrival, Speaker of the House Arthur Holder commended Clerk of Parliament Pedro Eastmond and his team for working around the clock to ensure the start of the Estimates debate.
“We are here temporarily to give the buildings enough time for consultation, for quotations, for expressions of interest and to ensure that all the problems are remedied. I wish to thank the persons who would have worked assiduously above and beyond the call of duty to ready these premises today and I am very satisfied.
“I left there about something to 11 p.m. [on Sunday]. The Clerk of Parliament has worked tirelessly to really ensure that we are ready. He would have left here, I believe, the Friday morning about 3 o’clock, the Saturday morning about 3 o’clock and I can tell you that this morning he probably got home about 4 o’clock. I am satisfied,” he said.
The Speaker was unable to say how long sittings of the House of Assembly would be held at the Worthing Corporate Centre location, stressing that the problems at Parliament’s home must first be fully resolved.
“We will not go back there unless and until they are remedied thoroughly,” he said.
Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, who also stressed that the change was necessary, commended all those who assisted in the move to prepare the temporary space.
On her way into the building, Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde said while she was yet to see the internal setup, she was pleased with the space available for parking at the location.
“We come here to work really hard, whether the environment is as appropriate as we would like it or not. We are here to serve the people and that we shall do these next few days,” Forde said.
Member of Parliament for St James South Sandra Husbands agreed that the environmental issues which affected staff members and Parliamentarians needed to be remedied. She said the temporary move was necessary to allow for the historic buildings to be preserved and for a healthy environment to be created for those who work and visit there.
Member of Parliament for St Michael South Kirk Humphrey was of the view that the overall objective was to get the people’s business done, regardless of the location.