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$1m Price Tag To Renovate Senate Building

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

RENOVATIONS to the ground floor of the Senate building will cost around $1m, according to Speaker Halson Moultrie, who noted the work would be undertaken by the Ministry of Works as a capital development.

Mr Moultrie also revealed the new digital Hansard and widescreen TVs for the House of Assembly will cost around $700,000.

He told The Tribune his office was finalising documents for the technology upgrades to send to Cabinet for approval.

"The upgrade to a digital system will allow for instant replay so that when members indicate that another member has made a particular statement - the system that we have in place, we would have to request a transcript and that takes anywhere from three to five days. By the time we received information, the issue is not alive anymore.

"In certain instances we have discovered a lot of assertions or allegations are unfounded, and by that time press has already covered the story."

The Senate renovations will accommodate new offices for the speaker and his deputy and the establishment of a library and research division at the House.

He said the drawings for renovations have already been approved by the Ministry of Works, adding it was "just a matter of proceeding".

In an interview yesterday, Mr Moultrie also spoke to new programming for the Parliamentary Channel that will coincide with the 290th anniversary of parliamentary democracy next month.

"Right now we have a lot of death notices (airing on the channel)," he said. "We are proposing full programming. You are going to see some of it as we begin to celebrate the anniversary."

Mr Moultrie explained the production for programming would be sourced from ZNS, Bahamas Information Services, and also private sources.

To mark the anniversary, Parliament is planning a week-long celebration that will feature a lectures series among other activities. A thanksgiving and praise service will be held on September 29, the anniversary date.

Parliament received a notable increase in the 2019/2020 budget of more than $6.5m to accommodate renovations and technology upgrades. It received a little over $2.2m in the 2018/2019 budget year.

The House of Assembly reconvenes on October 2.

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