Published On: Sat, Mar 30th, 2024

Parliament introduces usage of interruptions during Public Meetings

PHILIPSBURG — Members of Parliament (MPs) were informed on Wednesday about the introduction of interruptions during Public Meetings of Parliament. Chair of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams clarified at the onset of the continuation of the 2024 budget debates, stating, “Article 43 of our Rules of Order allows the president to permit interruptions, which must consist of brief remarks or questions without introduction.”

“As of today, Wednesday, March 27, 2024, I will, in accordance with the Rules of Order, allow interruptions during Public Meetings of Parliament,” declared the Chair of Parliament.

In practice, interruptions occur when a speaker is interrupted by an MP with a question or comment. Wescot Williams emphasized that these remarks or questions should be brief, concise, relevant to the topic, and devoid of introductions. “Interruptions should challenge assertions made, seek clarification, or contribute additional information to the debate.”

Permission from the Chair of Parliament is necessary for an interruption to occur, ensuring controlled contributions that enhance the debate. Wescot Williams stressed the need for a limit on interruptions, proposing a maximum per MP for each agenda item.

To maintain Parliamentary decorum, offensive or disorderly interruptions will be promptly addressed. Clear guidelines will be established regarding the nature and purpose of interruptions.

The right to interrupt speakers will replace the previously allowed Point of Order for MPs. Additionally, the Chair of Parliament permits members to make a “Point of Proposal,” offering suggestions on how to handle specific topics.

The right to a Point of Interruption was first used by MP Cloyd Marlin when he requested a point of interruption during MP Ludmila De Weever’s time on the floor regarding a statement she made.


Top photo caption: Parliament Chair Sarah Wescot Williams explained the usage of interruptions to Members of Parliament on Wednesday.