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HANG UP AND DRINK UP TOO: Drivers face ban from using phones and booze in cars

PROPOSED amendments to the Road Traffic Act will make it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using a cellphone, or with an open alcoholic beverage. 

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Now name and shame non-disclosure MPs

OPPOSITION Leader Philip “Brave” Davis called yesterday on Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to live up to his pre-election promises and identify those who have not declared their assets and liabilities to the Public Disclosure Commission in accordance with the Public Disclosure Act.

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Chairman appointment expires - and still no disclosures revealed

THE public will have to wait just a bit longer for the final listing and review of financial disclosures for the last three years, with Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday refusing to comment on the work of the unit without f

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Concessions ruled out for businesses who owe tax

BUSINESSES behind on National Insurance Board contributions, business licence fees and real property taxes will not be granted concessions through the Over-the-Hill revitalisation programme, according to the Economic Empowerment Zones Bill which was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday.

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'Rebels should have resigned - not waited to be fired by PM'

GOVERNMENT appointees who voted against an increase in value added tax to 12 percent should have resigned their positions rather than wait to be fired, retired parliamentary clerk Maurice Tynes says. Mr Tynes, the chief adviser to House Speakers from

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Web shop staff call for boycott

WEB shop employees yesterday suggested a boycott of businesses or economic interests of Cabinet ministers as operators pledge to take their fight against an impending tax increase on their sector all the way to the Privy Council.

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Miller against VAT increase

GOLDEN Isles MP Vaughn Miller yesterday became the third Free National Movement member of Parliament to publicly oppose the government’s impending value added tax increase.

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70 percent against tax rise in survey

MOST Bahamians oppose the Minnis administration’s “People’s Budget”, with more than 70 percent against the impending value added tax increase, a new scientific poll from marketing and research firm Public Domain reveals.

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MP: Grand Bahama 'dying a slow death'

PINERIDGE MP Frederick McAlpine said Grand Bahama “is dying a slow death,” urging his governing party to try a “little harder and faster” to bring some economic relief to the island.

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McAlpine calls for income tax rather than VAT rise

OUTSPOKEN Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine yesterday ridiculed his government’s budget, telling parliamentarians it appears Free National Movement politicians have reneged on their words.

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FNM MPs kept in dark on increase

THE government’s proposed value added tax increase was not only a shock to the nation but completely blindsided several Free National Movement members of Parliament who told The Tribune yesterday it appeared the decision was kept within the confines of Cabinet.

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Budget demand for more web shop taxes

Governance reformers yesterday called for increased web shop taxes in tomorrow's Budget, coupled with 5 per cent annual spending reductions through 2023, to avoid a fiscal crisis.

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Dame Joan: FNM eating its words

THE Free National Movement is “eating its words” on major issues it admonished the former Christie administration over, according to retired Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer.

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PM silent as spy bill approved

THE controversial Interception of Communications Bill was passed the House of Assembly yesterday with no input from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, once a fervent critic of the bill.

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New board planned to oversee contracts

PUBLIC procurement processes in the Bahamas, long derided by the US State Department as “opaque,” will be standardised through the Public Procurement Bill 2018, a draft version of which has been submitted to the Organization of American States who released the document.

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'On target' for March 1 disclosures deadline

AS the deadline for members of Parliament and senators to file financial disclosures approaches, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said everyone is on target to meet the timeline of March 1. “The Public Disclosure Commission continues to meet and the

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Organization for Responsible Government condemns events in Parliament

THE Organization for Responsible Government has condemned the events that took place in the House of Assembly in the past three weeks.

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Bail act needs urgent review

THE power of magistrates to grant bail in all but the most serious of offences should be returned forthwith, the country’s top judge said yesterday, as he urged Parliament to pay more than “lip service” to the issue.

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Enterprise Bill may have changes

ALTHOUGH Free National Movement  parliamentarians unanimously voted to pass the Commercial Enterprises Bill in the House of Assembly last week, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold, in the face of criticism from some, yesterday said the administration will consider “recommendations and suggestions” for the bill and incorporate those it believes have merit.

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MPs’ pay rise conditional on upturn

IN the face of public uproar, the Minnis administration has placed a stipulation on its pledge to increase salaries for Members of Parliament next year, with the prime minister’s Press Secretary Anthony Newbold saying yesterday the salaries will not be increased if the economy does not improve.

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MPs’ pay will need economic upturn

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said he believes “there will be an improvement to the country finances” in next year’s budget cycle when members of Parliament are expected to receive pay raises. 

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Another group hits out at govt over Public Disclosure Act

ANOTHER local advocacy group has spoken out against the government's failure to fully enforce the Public Disclosure Act, charging that not doing so could undermine public trust in two recently tabled pieces of anti-corruption legislation.

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Govt slammed for 'excuses' over public Disclosure Act

CITIZENS for a Better Bahamas (CBB) yesterday slammed the government for failing to meet its campaign promises on enforcement of the Public Disclosure Act.In a press statement the advocacy group called on citizens to reject “implausible” and “unreaso

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New rulebook to beat corruption

IN keeping with its pledge to tackle corruption and introduce a new standard of accountability in the country, the Minnis Administration tabled its highly anticipated Integrity Commission bill yesterday.

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Bill tabled that would bring more financial disclosure requirements

PUBLIC officials would face additional financial disclosure requirements under the Integrity Commission Bill the Minnis Administration tabled yesterday.

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New spy bill tabled

THE Minnis administration tabled an Interception of Communication Bill and legislation to create legal framework for the disbanded National Intelligence Agency in the House of Assembly yesterday.

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First govt Bill tabled for independent prosecutor

THE Minnis administration tabled the first Bill of its tenure yesterday: a Constitutional Amendment Bill to establish the independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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'Disclosure three’ may go unpunished

PUBLIC Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday distanced himself from the government’s pledge to prosecute non-compliant parliamentarians, telling The Tribune it is possible no penalties will be exacted.

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Three politicians missed deadline for disclosure

THREE parliamentarians have missed the deadline imposed by the government to file financial disclosures, but that list is not at the Office of the Attorney General just yet, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.

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Disclosures left ‘in the air’

DESPITE his critical role in an ongoing process to have delinquent parliamentarians and senators file their outstanding disclosures or face prosecution, Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday that his appointment has expired, leaving aspects of the process “up in the air”.

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Deadline today - but some disclosures outstanding

WHILE today marks the deadline for both sitting and former parliamentarians to file financial disclosures, Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda told The Tribune yesterday that there were still some that are “outstanding”.

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Appeal of parliamentary privilege ruling cost govt more than $100,000

THE Government racked up more than $100,000 in legal costs connected to its appeal of the landmark Supreme Court ruling on parliamentary privilege, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel, who noted that the sum represented costs for foreign lawyers.

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Parliamentarians respond as deadline looms for disclosures

PUBLIC Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday remarked on the high-level of engagement experienced by his office due to the looming deadline for former and current parliamentarians to file financial disclosures or face prosecution.

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Ex-ministers to face the courts?

FORMER ministers in the Christie administration are “guilty” of “misfeasance” and Attorney General Carl Bethel will have to determine if they should be held liable for the “millions” in taxpayer dollars that were awarded in questionable contracts, in some cases to “inexperienced” contractors, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister told the House of Assembly last night.

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Parliamentarians must file disclosures by June 30

THE government has set a June 30 deadline for former and sitting parliamentarians to file disclosures or face prosecution, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.

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Three weeks to file missing disclosures or file will go to the Attorney General

DELINQUENT former and sitting parliamentarians have been given three weeks to file disclosures or face the court for breaking the law, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.

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Five years and no disclosures

DESPITE repeated calls for parliamentarians to submit annual financial declarations as mandated by law, Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday that there is a handful of officials who did not make a single disclosure for the entire five-year term of the Christie administration.

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US, Caricom to monitor election

THE Bahamas government has received confirmation from two of four international organisations invited to send electoral observers for the upcoming general election.

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Chipman sparks boundaries row

MEMBERS of Parliament clashed in the House of Assembly yesterday over allegations St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman made in a letter to House Speaker Dr Kendal Major in which he claimed that the draft order for constituency boundaries that was tabled last week differed significantly from the report he signed as the Official Opposition’s representative on the Constituencies Commission.

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Bid to intercept letters, emails

THE government has tabled a bill in the House of Assembly that aims to create a “single legal framework” that would allow the Commissioner of Police to obtain a warrant from a judge to intercept and examine a person’s communications from telecommunications operators, internet providers and postal services for a period of three months.

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Only one seat extra recommended for New Providence

THE Constituencies Commission is expected to convene today for a final meeting on its recommendations for boundary changes, which, according to well-placed sources, will call for the addition of only one seat in New Providence.

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Lowest turnout for election is predicted

POLITICAL analyst Dr Ian Strachan believes the country may experience its lowest voter turnout in history for the upcoming general election due to lack of faith in the current political system and “weak” alternatives to the current administration.

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Privilege Committee investigations stalled

MAJOR investigations by Parliament’s Committee on Privilege have stalled in recent months, with no clear end in sight for them.

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House likely to have at least four more seats

AS the 2017 general election draws near, the number of constituencies in New Providence and the Family Islands is expected to increase by at least four seats with the Constituencies Commission set to finalise its report by the end of the month.

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Call for privilege committee to await court ruling

OPPOSITION MPs of the House of Assembly’s Committee on Privilege have been advised to request that the probe into Justice Indra Charles’ ruling on the limits of parliamentary privilege be adjourned until the matter is no longer before the courts.

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THE BIG QUESTION: What will you be looking for in a political party to ensure your vote?

With the 2017 election season on the horizon, what will you be looking for in a political party to ensure your vote?

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Call for international observers for committee’s probe

SAVE The Bays (STB) has appealed for international observers to oversee the House of Assembly’s Committee on Privilege’s probe into the landmark ruling by Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles over the leak of its private emails in Parliament.

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Employers could face jail if they fail to inform govt of job cuts

IN THE wake of Sandals’ decision to make hundreds of its employees redundant, the government wants to bring “emergency legislation” to Parliament that would make it a criminal offence for employers to fail to consult or notify the relevant minister or bargaining agent about their intention to make ten or more workers redundant.

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Darville: End contempt efforts over leaked emails

SAVE The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville yesterday urged House of Assembly Speaker Dr Kendal Major to “call off efforts” to have certain members of the organisation held in contempt of Parliament.

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UPDATED: Neko Grant steps down as Leader of Opposition Business in the House

CENTRAL Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant yesterday resigned as Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly and the Free National Movement’s shadow Works Minister, pointing to his relationship with FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis as the motivating factor.

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INSIGHT: The role of Opposition forces

New political movements prove the health of democracy in the Bahamas but won’t unseat the PLP as divided factions, Malcolm J Strachan says . . .

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THE BIG QUESTION: What steps should each party take to win the next election?

With Dr Duane Sands saying the FNM has not being “gaining traction”, and the PLP recovering from the referendum defeat, what steps should each party take to convince the public they should be elected at the next election?

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Ministers fail to table audits

CABINET ministers responsible for at least six quasi-government institutions and agencies have failed to table audit reports, creating a lapse in the public record that contravenes the law.

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Voter discontent could impact equality referendum

THE Christie administration’s track record could doom the upcoming gender equality referendum, as there is growing public dissatisfaction towards the government and its handling of similar votes.

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Judge unlikely to face House

CENTRAL and South Eleuthera MP Damian Gomez said he would be “surprised” if Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles is called before the Committee on Privileges after being named last week in a resolution to determine whether she and others should be held in contempt of the House of Assembly.

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'No' vote group to sue for referendum funds

CITIZENS for Justice, an activist group, has said it will take legal action against the government this week hoping to force it to provide public funds to the constitutional referendum’s vote “no” campaigns.

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Religious leaders still waiting on request for 'no' campaign funding

RELIGIOUS leaders backing the constitutional referendum's vote "no" campaign are still waiting for Prime Minister Perry Christie to respond to their request for seed funding.

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‘No need for vote’

PRESIDENT of the Bahamas Global Impact Prayer and Fasting Network (BGI-PAFN) Jeremiah Duncombe yesterday said there is no need for the constitutional referendum scheduled for June 7, as the government is “fully capable” of amending the Constitution to show gender equality “all on its own.”

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Judge may be held to account by committee

SUPREME Court Justice Indra Charles along with Save The Bays Director Fred Smith, QC, and lawyer Ferron Bethel were named in a resolution yesterday in Parliament for the Committee on Privilege to determine whether they should be held in contempt of the House of Assembly.

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THE BIG QUESTION: MPs and financial declarations

What do you think should be done to ensure members of Parliament file their financial declarations on time?

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Rex Major urges ‘no’ vote for fourth bill

EVANGELIST Rex Major added his voice to the chorus of pastors urging Bahamians to reject the fourth constitutional referendum bill yesterday.

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Voters registered for 2012 election already eligible for referendum

ALL Bahamians who registered to vote for the 2012 general election are eligible to participate in the upcoming gender equality vote, which is expected to take place in about six weeks, according to Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlin Hall yesterday.

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‘No’ campaign launched over referendum vote

THE Save Our Bahamas Committee - the group that opposed the 2013 gambling referendum - yesterday launched a vote no campaign against the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill.

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Bishop urges ‘no’ vote in gender equality referendum

BISHOP Walter Hanchell has come out against the upcoming constitutional referendum, charging that it would lead to same-sex marriage and an “influx” of foreign men using Bahamian women as a “ticket” to get work.

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THE BIG QUESTION: Preventing government corruption

After the findings of a US State Department report, what do YOU think should be done to prevent government corruption in the Bahamas?

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THE BIG QUESTION: Campaign finance - what would you do?

What measures would you introduce to reform campaign finance?

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'Historic day' as gender equality bills passed

THE four Constitutional Amendment Bills on gender equality were passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday in what has been called a “historic day.”

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Watson doubts FNM election win

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson yesterday insisted that unless the Free National Movement worked harder to connect with Bahamians on key issues, it is hard to see the party securing a victory in this country’s next general election.

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Freedom of Information Bill does not fix flaws, says expert

THE draft Freedom of Information Bill does not eliminate the flaws inherent in previous legislation passed by the former Ingraham administration, an expert on right to information laws has said.

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Speaker breaks ranks to allow FNM comments in the House

TENSIONS mounted in the House of Assembly yesterday after the Speaker, Dr Kendal Major, went against senior Progressive Liberal Party members and allowed an “intervention” by opposition leader Hubert Minnis into the “judicial interference” matter surrounding embattled Cabinet minister V Alfred Gray.

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Bill passed to scrap mandatory minimums

A BILL to abolish the controversial mandatory minimum sentences implemented by the former Ingraham administration was one of a compendium of bills debated in the House of Assembly yesterday as part of the government’s effort to modernise the judicial system and curb crime in the country.

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Female parliamentarians do not want delay for referendum - but understand if it is needed

THE FAILURE of the proposed gender equality referendum should not be an option, Sea Breeze MP Hope Strachan said yesterday.

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INSIGHT: Cannibalism in the PLP

IN a 2009 tribute to Sir Clement Maynard, then Governor-general Sir Arthur Foulkes wrote that “politics, that most noble of professions, can sometimes, descend into something approaching savagery. And it seems that there is no greater fury in the political arena as when colleagues turn on each other”.

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Smith: Government MPs should fall in line and back bills

FORMER PLP Cabinet Minister George Smith said all government MPs should “fall in line” and support the Christie administration as it attempts to pass the four gender equality bills to amend the Constitution.

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Nottage ‘taken aback’ by referendum debate delay

ORGANISER of the government’s Constitutional reform education campaign, retired Justice Ruby Nottage, said yesterday that she was “taken aback” by the announcement that parliamentary debate of the highly anticipated equality Bills would be delayed.

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Still no financial declarations

WHILE a group of parliamentarians last week suggested their salaries be subject to an independent review with a view to increasing how much they are paid, the government has not made public the annual financial disclosures of elected officials since 2012.

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MPs seek more pay and new Parliament

DESPITE the country’s significant fiscal constraints, a government-appointed select committee recommends that the Christie administration build a new House of Assembly complex during this parliamentary term, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage announced yesterday.

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New rules in House are 'against democracy'

THE new rules for those attending the House of Assembly are anti-democratic and amount to an attempt to manage the media, a former senior parliamentarian charged last night.

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Road closures for opening of Parliament

POLICE are warning people to watch out for road closures as the new session of Parliament meets.

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