Four members of Jamaica's bicameral legislature recently benefited from a parliamentary fundamentals course on practiceÂ and procedure staged by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Pearnel Charles Jr, who is in his second year as a government senator, said that the course provided some important insights into various areas that could improve Jamaica's parliamentary system.
The course was conducted by the Wits School of Governance from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. The three-month exercise consisted of online classes and face-to-face sessions and a final project.
According to Charles, the participants discussed the use of technology to significantly improve the parliamentary process. He indicated that the Standing Orders, when crafted decades ago, would not have foreseen the modern types of technology that could now assist the workings of the legislature.
He argued that the Parliament of the future must use technology to provide lawmakers with information on a timely basis so that they can carry out the necessary research to make their arguments more substantive.
Member of parliament for Manchester Southern, Michael Stewart, who also participated in the course, said the knowledge gained would be put into practice.
"We were able to liaise with other representatives from different Parliaments across the African continent and also from the Caribbean and Asia. It has really opened our eyes to some of the practices, and what we need to do to better our parliamentary procedure in Jamaica," reported Charles.