Former prime minister Patrick Manning has received a further 42-day extension of his leave from Parliament. At yesterday's Parliament sitting, Speaker Wade Mark said Manning had applied for further leave, effective January 23, owing to illness. It was granted. Today is a year since Manning suffered a stroke.
He has been on leave from Parliament since January 2012. After a stroke he went overseas for rehabilitation, returned last August and has applied twice for and received an extension of sick leave. Also at yesterday's sitting, Mark said Parliament's paper usage would be reduced by 50 per cent by year-end compared with last year's usage, as one of its goals this year.
This follows the issue of iPads to MPs and other measures to expand digital recording systems. He said the IPads would reduce use of paper, resulting in cost savings. It would also improve communication and delivery of documents and would provide a single online repository for collecting and storing documents, he added.
Mark said Parliament was on target with several goals of a four-year ICT strategic plan which included reducing paper use. He said within the next year Hansard, without verified quotations, would be published online 90 per cent of the time within 24 hours of a debate.
Parliamentary applications and information would be securely accessible by authorised users from anywhere, anytime, within the next two years, he added. National Security Minister Jack Warner, replying to questions on the agenda on security measures for fishermen, said an upgrade of the 360-degree radar system would be done, which would increase the detection rate of criminal activity at sea.
He said joint patrols were done weekly by police in coastal areas, including Tobago. Fishing centres were being upgraded, Coast Guard patrols deployed all along the coast from East to South and communication systems would be improved, Warner added.