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Members of both Houses to get iPads
Within weeks all MPs, including senators, will be given iPads, says Speaker Wade Mark. The measure is expected to benefit 73 people (41 MPs and 31 senators, plus the presiding officers of each House). Mark spoke at yesterday’s news conference at the Parliament Building, Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, which was called to announce plans for the T&T Parliament’s observance of International Day of Democracy, organised internationally by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
“In the next couple weeks, all Members of Parliament will be provided with iPads so they can do their work, receive their documents electronically,” he added. Mark said this will result in a significant reduction in the amount of paper the Parliament had to distribute in the execution of its work on a daily basis.
In response to questions on the expected cost to the State of the purchase of the iPads, Mark said: “There is no price (too high) to pay for democracy...democracy is priceless and we are committed to strengthening the Parliament by building and strengthening our democracy. That is a matter that cannot be compromised.” He stressed: “In the next few weeks, all Members of Parliament will be provided with iPads. That is our commitment.”
Mark was unable to say which company would be providing the iPads. He said the entire purchase of the iPads would be transparent and above board. “As soon as these iPads are acquired the cost (will be) known and made available to members of the media.” He said he was hoping MPs would have “this new device before the budget was read...we are looking to secure those devices before the end of October.”
The US manufacturer of iPads, Apple, sells them from US$399. Mark said the iPads would be managed in the same way laptops given to MPs are managed. He said the MP would have an option at the end of the five-year parliamentary term to return it to the Clerk of the House or pay a nominal fee to keep it. Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith, who also addressed the news conference, said while the initiative had a capital cost, “ultimately it can be a cost-saving device.”
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