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New rules at House of Representatives

The Speaker of the House, Laura Longsworth, is changing protocol at the House of Representatives and implementing some new regulations which she says was prompted after a security scare some weeks ago. She made the announcement at the start of the Budget presentation last Friday.

Laura Longsworth Speaker of the House: “We are moving ahead with formalizing a security policy for the National Assembly. It has been a source of concern that we are not prepared to act decisively in the event of an emergency and recently while in the building I was confronted by a stark reality of an emergency situation where we were asked to leave the building immediately by Police officers while they were investigating a suspicious car parked in the vicinity of the building. Our response was weak and disjointed and so community members from both sides of the House will meet shortly to examine existing recommendations and to formalize a plan of action to include fire and management of emergency situations that can threaten the security of staff, parliamentarians and the visitors to the National Assembly. Only parliamentarians would have access to the inner offices and members rooms. The media has also been asked to wear identification badges during House meetings. I want to thank the media for their cooperation and they should know that we are extremely sensitive to the role that the media plays in promoting democracy and by keeping our citizens informed and of course informing our citizens allows them to participate in parliamentary matters.”

That case was investigated by police. There were reports that a bomb was found inside a vehicle near the National Assembly building. In a press brief on February 28, we asked Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett, Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch, about the reports. He said the incident happened about two weeks prior the press brief.

ACP Joseph Myvett: “That was not the case, obviously someone who was in the area of the National Assembly had a confrontation with someone and he has since been charged for that.”

Reporter: “So no explosive was involved?”

ACP Joseph Myvett: “No explosive was found and none was involved as far as we know.”

The Speaker of the House added that they will be engaging the media in finalizing a communication plan that will soon be implemented.