Opposite page: The signature limestone, water-collection rooftops of Bermuda; This page: Ms Wolffe at the Table as Clerk of the Parliament.
if desired, the entire debate. Before May 2010 this was not possible; the only information accessible for MPs was from newspaper articles, broadcasting outlets and the House of Assembly’s Minutes. It was evident that members
of the public were disappointed that transcripts of proceedings were unavailable. Before the implementation of a Hansard, the public and university students locally and internationally sought information regarding debates for assignments and personal knowledge. However, they were hampered by not receiving full texts of debates. The main resource available was the Minutes of the House of Assembly, which identified which Member spoke and a summary of what was agreed during the House sitting. The Minutes only gave the readers a taste of the debate, not a full-course meal. Alternatively, another system
already in place proved to be archaic. This process involved dubbing an audio recording to a video tape with a backup to a digital recorder that was housed and maintained at a government ministry. The system then advanced to recording direct to the hard drive of a computer or to a compact disc. However, there were key problems associated with this system relating to extracting and reformatting audio data. Moreover, the system was unwieldy and awkward to use, the quality of the audio recording was substandard and there was no video capability. Another resource available was
of Janscription International LLC at a Regional Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference in Cayman Islands. We discussed the operations of a Hansard. Through that meeting we
determined that a Hansard should be re-incorporated in our Parliament. I visited other Commonwealth Parliaments of a similar size to see the functionality of their Hansards. As a result, I gained some knowledge
on how our new Hansard should operate. The execution of a Hansard
has enhanced Parliament’s visibility. Members can now read their individual verbatim transcripts and,
the live broadcasting of proceedings over a local radio channel; but this did not allow the public to listen to past sessions. The final option was for the public to physically come to the House of Assembly and watch the debates first-hand. Watching debates was a useful tool, but it was not always practical as the public are not able to take notes. Our Standing Orders permit the media to take notes but people in the public gallery are not allowed to do so. The previous methods of
obtaining information were helpful, but were not what the public needed.