Categorized | National News

Senate VP Wants Upper Chamber Expanded

Over the years the Senate has been called outdated, irrelevant and nothing more than a five-year resting place for defeated politicians. Now, a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) senator says he’d like to see the upper chamber expanded to include members from civil society so that it is not so “politically charged.”

Senate Vice President Joseph Curry has heard all of the criticisms about the upper chamber, including calls for the government to amend the constitution to do away with the Senate.

But, during a Rotary Club of Nassau meeting, Senator Curry defended the Senate, highlighting its historical, current and future relevance.

During his address, he disagreed with those who believe senators should be elected and not appointed to serve.

“I am from that school that doesn’t believe that senators should be elected. I believe they should be appointed. The point that I made earlier with respect to its composition, meaning the men and women who go there and what they bring to the table is what I believe will make a difference in the whole scheme of governing,” he said.

“The concept of not being able to be elected and then being put in the Senate is something that has happened across political parties. The Senate is also being used as a means by which young politicians get the opportunity to get some legislative experience before seeking to enter into the House of Assembly.”

He continued, “I think the original concept of the Senate, going back to the legislative council, was perhaps the right idea, when you had people who were accomplished; they had achieved much in life, meaning they were a lot older; they were wise men . . . who would bring something to the table, who would be more of a check and balance on the House of Assembly, which was an elected body.”

Senator Curry said the Senate, as structured today, is highly politically charged.

He is suggesting that it be expanded so that members of civil society have the opportunity to send their own representatives to the Senate to represent their interests.

Mr. Curry, who is also a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator, also responded to criticisms that the level of debate in the upper chamber is not up to par.

The Senate vice president said few people take an interest in how laws are created or what is being presented.

He said senators should, at all times, be well-prepared to present their contributions.

He also noted that legislation should never be rushed.

Doing so, he said, creates bad laws that would only have to be repealed later.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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