The placement of some MPs on both the Government and Opposition benches in the House of Representatives has been changed in the restored Red House.
This was evident at yesterday’s first working session at the Red House – a Standing Finance Committee meeting.
At the previous Waterfront Complex location which the Parliament used, there had been a smaller chamber area and fewer seats. The Red House’s House of Representatives’ chamber which appears larger than before – due to reconfiguration of the media and public gallery section – has more seats: a total of 60 with 30 seats each on Government and Opposition sides.
While PNM front liners on Government’s front bench remain largely the same, PNM MPs Esmonde Forde and Nyan Gadsby Dolly are now occupying seats on the front bench also. They’d been backbenchers at the Waterfront location.
Government’s backbench includes PNM MPs Edmund Dillon, Ayana Webster-Roy, Ancil Antoine, Dr Lovell Francis, Glenda Jennings-Smith, Nicole Ollivierre, Darryl Smith, Maxie Cuffie and PNM’s Marlene McDonald on the last seat. McDonald attended yesterday’s sitting after missing last Friday’s opening.
On the Opposition front bench, several MPs who’d been at the end of the front bench have been shifted to the back and one backbencher has been shifted to the end of the UNC’s front bench.
The UNC’s Fuad Khan who’d been at one end of the UNC backbench was shifted to the last seat on UNC’s front bench.
He’s next to Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
UNC MPs Rudy Indarsingh and Vidya Gayadeen-Gopeesingh who were on the end of UNC’s front bench have been shifted to the backbench. Opposition MP Prakash Ramadhar who was last on UNC’s front bench is now last on the UNC’s backbench. Also on UNC’s backbench are MPs Barry Padarath, Dr Lackram Bodoe, Rushton Paray, Ramona Ramdial and Ganga Singh.
UNC whip David Lee said, “We made changes in order to keep the team together for communication purposes since there are more seats in this Chamber than the Waterfront location. “
On how well the Chamber is serving its purpose, Lee – after yesterday morning’s sitting- said, “We understand the facility is a work in progress and a number of finishing touches are still being done. So one bears with the process.”