Antigua & Barbuda

Temp Term

This is a temp definition

Written question

See: Questions to Ministers

Writ of election

A writ issued by the Chief Electoral Officer in order to institute an election in a specific electoral district.


A person invited to appear before a committee to present an opinion on a particular topic or to provide technical advice with respect to a bill. While testifying, witnesses enjoy the same privilege of freedom of speech as Members.

White paper

A document tabled in the House presenting Government policy in a given area. It may contain legislative or administrative proposals on which the Government intends to act.

Distinguish: green paper.


The Member charged with keeping other Members of the same party informed concerning House business and ensuring their attendance in the House, especially when a vote is anticipated. In Antigua and Barbuda this function is usually added to those of the Leader of the House, in the case of the ruling party. In the House of Representatives, the Opposition Chief Whip usually sits at the head of the Opposition front bench directly opposite the Leader of the House.


(1) The formal expression of opinion for the purpose of reaching a decision. (Distinguish: division.
(2) An individual item of the Estimates indicating the amount of money required by the Government for a particular programme or function.


Distinguished persons who are invited to the Speaker’s gallery in the Chamber and recognized by the Speaker/President of the Senate.


The person elected as deputy to the chairman of a standing or special committee.

Unwhipped vote

Free vote.

unparliamentary language

Words or expressions contrary to the proprieties of the House. A Member who refuses to withdraw unparliamentary language may be named by the Speaker.


A parliamentary system in which the legislative power is vested in one chamber.

Unanimous consent

The consent of all Members present, required when the House wishes to set aside its rules or usual practices without notice. Actions taken by unanimous consent do not constitute precedents.

Synonym: leave of the House.

Third reading

The last stage of consideration of a bill in the House, at the conclusion of which the bill as a whole is either finally approved or rejected.

Third parties

Generally, political parties represented in the House which are smaller in size than the Official Opposition party.

Terms of reference

An order of the House to a committee instructing it to consider some matter or defining the scope of its deliberations.

Take note debate

Debate on a motion which includes the words that the House “takes note” of an issue to allow Members to express their views.

Table Officers

The Clerks who provide procedural advice during sittings of the House, take the votes and keep the minutes of proceedings.

Synonym: Clerks-at-the-Table.


To place a document before the House or a committee for consideration or consultation.

Synonym: lay on the table.


The Table in front of the Speaker’s Chair at which the Clerk and the other Table Officers sit. Copies of frequently consulted procedural authorities are kept on the Table for the convenience of Members and the Mace is placed on top of it when the House is sitting.

Suspension of a sitting

A pause during the course of a sitting of the House. When the sitting is suspended, the Speaker/President of the Senate leaves the Chair and the Mace is placed in the lower position on the Table.

Distinguish: adjournment; recess.

Suspend a Member

The action of dismissing a Member from the services of the House and its committees for one or more days as a result of disorder. This action may be exercised by the Speaker/President of the Senate alone (one day), or as an order of the House (more than one day).

Compare: expel a Member; naming a Member.

Supplementary question

A question seeking clarification or further information following a Minister’s response to a question during the oral question period. The Speaker/President of the Senate has wide discretion in permitting the posing of supplementary questions.

Supplementary Estimates

An expenditure plan introduced to provide funds to the Government to meet new or increased costs. The Government may introduce as many sets of Supplementary Estimates in a given fiscal year as it deems necessary.

Superseding motion

A motion moved for the purpose of superseding or replacing the question before the House. It may be either a dilatory motion or a motion for the previous question.

Summons of Parliament

The convocation of a Parliament following a dissolution or prorogation. Parliament is summoned by a proclamation issued by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Summoning a witness

Ordering a witness to appear before one of its committees.

Substantive motion

An independent proposal which is complete in itself. Normally such motions require written notice before they can be moved in the House.

Compare: subsidiary motion.

Subsidiary motion

A motion which is procedural in nature, dependent on an order already made by the House. Motions for the second and third readings of bills are subsidiary motions.

Synonym: ancillary motion.

Compare: substantive motion.

Subordinate legislation

See: delegated legislation.


A committee of a committee, to which the latter may delegate its powers, except the power to report to the House. Not all committees are granted the power to establish subcommittees.


An amendment to an amendment. A subamendment must be relevant to the amendment it seeks to modify, rather than to the original question.

Sub judice convention

A convention whereby Members refrain from making reference to certain matters, particularly criminal cases, which are before the courts. It does not apply to bills.


Anyone who is not a Member of the House or an official of the House. Strangers are admitted to the galleries but may be expelled by the Speaker/President of the Senate if there is a disturbance.

Statutory instrument

A regulation, order, rule or other instrument issued by virtue of power conferred by an Act of Parliament. Statutory instruments are subject to review by the Statutory Instruments Committee of the Senate.

Compare: delegated legislation

Statements by Ministers

A Order Paper item during which a Minister may make a short factual announcement or statement of government policy.

Starred question

A question on the Order Paper for which an oral response is requested.

Standing Orders

The collection of the permanent written rules adopted by the House to govern its proceedings.

Standing order

An order adopted by the House to regulate its proceedings which remains in effect permanently. Standing orders may be altered or repealed only by a subsequent decision of the House.

Sponsor (of a bill)

The Member or Minister who presents a bill in the House.


The Member elected by the House of Representatives to preside over its proceedings. In particular, he or she is responsible for maintaining order and decorum. The Speaker also oversees the administration of the Parliament. In addition, the Speaker is the spokesman and representative of the House of Representatives in its relations with the Senate, the Governor-General and other bodies outside the House of Representatives.


A meeting of the House within a session. A sitting may last for only a matter of minutes or may extend for several hours.

Compare: session.

Sine die adjournment

An adjournment without the assigning of a day for the next meeting. Usually the adjournment before dissolution or prorogation.

Short title

The title of a proposed Act, used for purposes of citation. Short titles need not cover all of the provisions of a bill.

Compare: long title.

Shadow cabinet

The group of Members in the opposition party/parties, particularly the Official Opposition, chosen to act as party critics for each of the ministerial portfolios.


One of the fundamental time periods into which a Parliament is divided, usually consisting of a number of separate sittings. Sessions are commenced by the Governor-General’s proclamation and may be opened, ceremonially, by an address by His Excellency the Governor-General. They are ended by prorogation or dissolution of the Parliament.

Distinguish: sitting.

Senate bill

A bill, either public or private, which is first introduced in the Senate. After it has been passed by the Senate, A Senate bill is sent to the House of Representatives.

Section of an Act

Each separate numbered division of an Act. The clauses of a bill become sections once the bill is assented to.

Secret ballot

A secret vote.


A Member who formally supports a Private Member’s Motion in the House. The Member does not actually need to speak in order to support a motion but may simply indicate his or her consent. Government motions and motions in committee do not require seconders.

Second reading

The stage at which the principle and object of a bill is either accepted or rejected. Detailed consideration is not given to the clauses of the bill at this stage.


(1) The desk in the House of Representatives assigned to an MP. MPs are accorded seats in the House of Representatives not as individuals but in their capacity as representatives of their electoral districts.
(2) The electoral district which an MP represents.

Scope (of a bill)

The field of applicability of a bill as indicated by its text.


An appendix to a bill which contains matters of detail not suitable for inclusion in a clause. Schedules form part of a bill and are subject to amendment.

Routine proceedings

Business of a basic nature including such items as tabling documents, presenting petitions, introduction and first reading of bills and statements by ministers.

Routine motion

A motion required for the observance of the proprieties of the House, the maintenance of its authority, the management of its business, the arrangement of its proceedings, the establishing of the powers of its committees, the correctness of its records or the fixing of its sitting days or the times of its meeting or adjournment.

Right of reply

The right of the mover of a substantive motion or a motion for second reading of a bill to speak a second time in debate. This second speech closes the debate.

Responsible government

The principle that ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament for the actions of the Government. The legislative branch of government thus exercises control over the executive.


A motion adopted by the House in order to make a declaration of opinion or purpose.

Rescind a resolution

To cancel the effect of a resolution previously adopted by the House. The motion proposed concerns the rescinding of the resolution and hence does not deal a second time with a question already decided during the session.

synonym : revoke a resolution.

Reprint (of a bill)

If a bill is amended substantially at committee stage, the committee may order a reprint when it reports the bill to the House. When a bill receives third reading, it may again be reprinted.


Pursuant to an order of the House, a formal reproof addressed by the Speaker/President of the Senate to an offender adjudged guilty of a breach of privilege or of a contempt of the House.

Compare: admonition.

Report to the House

An oral or written statement by a committee to the House, giving the results of an inquiry or requesting additional powers.

Report stage

The stage at which the House considers a bill as reported by a committee, with amendments, if any.

Report progress

To report to the House from a Committee of the Whole, indicating that the committee has not concluded its deliberations. Such a report is necessary because a Committee of the Whole has no power to adjourn its own sitting or to adjourn consideration of a matter to a future sitting.

Referral (to a committee)

The sending of a bill (before or after second reading), paper, instrument or a question to a committee for study and report. Depending on the objectives of the referral, it may be made to a sessional, special or Joint committee.

Recorded vote

A vote where the names of those voting for and against a motion are registered in the official record of the House or of one of its committees. A recorded division may be requested by any member calling “Division”. Members vote by roll call.

Recommittal (of a bill)

The referral of a bill back to committee for further amendment in a specific area or for the reconsideration of a certain clause or clauses. The recommittal is moved as an amendment to the motion for third reading of the bill.


The period between the ending of one session (prorogation) and the beginning of the next. Also used in reference to a long adjournment.

Distinguish: adjournment of the House; suspension of a sitting.

Recall of the House

Pursuant to the Standing Orders, the Speaker/President of the Senate may recall the House, when it stands adjourned during a session, to meet prior to the date to which it stands adjourned.

Reading of a bill

One of the stages of the passage of a bill. The reading stages (first, second and third) each have their own individual function.

Quorum call

To draw the attention of the Speaker/President of the Senate (or the chairman, in a committee) to the absence of a quorum; the business under consideration in the House is interrupted and if a quorum is not established, the House adjourns.


The number of Members, excluding the Speaker/President, necessary to constitute a meeting of the House for the exercise of its powers. In the House of Representatives, it is set by the Constitution at 12; in the Senate it is 10.

Questions to Ministers

An Order Paper Item during which the Government responds to oral questions printed on the Order Paper. Questions for written reply appear as an appendix to the Order Paper and when answered are removed from the Order Paper.

Question of privilege

See: breach of privilege.


The matter before the House or a committee, about which it is called upon to make a decision. When the House is ready to come to a decision, the Speaker says “The Question is … All in favour say…”

Put the question

To put the motion before the House to a vote. At this stage no further debate or amendment is possible. The question is put to the House by the Speaker/President of the Senate.

Distinguish: propose the question.

Public bill

A bill concerned with matters of public policy; it may be sponsored either by a Minister (Government bill) or by a private Member (private Member’s bill).

Distinguish: Private Bill

Public Accounts

A report on the financial transactions of the Government prepared by the Auditor General.


The ending of a session which terminates all unfinished business. Prorogation also refers to the period of time a Parliament stands prorogued.

Compare: dissolution.

Propose the question

The formal reading of a motion from the Chair which places it before the House. Until the question is proposed it cannot be debated, amended or voted upon.

Distinguish: put the question.


An official notice or order issued by the Governor-General. A Parliament, as well as its sessions, are begun and ended by proclamation.

Procedural motion

A motion which deals with a purely routine matter.

Procedural authority

A work dealing with the procedure and practices of the House which may be referred to for guidance in resolving points of order and questions of privilege. The most frequently cited work is Erskine May.


Those rights and immunities enjoyed by the House, collectively, and by each Member individually, without which Members could not carry out their duties and the House could not fulfill its functions.

Compare: contempt of Parliament

Private Members’ business

Bills and motions sponsored by private Members. Such business has precedence on the fourth Friday/Tuesday of each month.

Private Member’s bill

A bill sponsored by a Member who is not part of the Cabinet. The term usually refers to public bills.

Distinguish: private bill.

Private Member

Strictly speaking, a Member who is not Speaker/President of the Senate or a Member of the Executive.

Private bill

A bill designed to affect the rights of a group of persons or a body such as a bill to incorporate a private company.

Distinguish: private Member’s bill.

Distinguish: Public Bill

Principle (of a bill)

The object or related objects which a bill seeks to achieve. The principle of a bill is adopted at second reading.

Prime Minister

The Leader of the Government, who is ordinarily the leader of the party having the greatest number of seats in the House of Representatives. Appointed by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister selects the other members of the Cabinet and, along with them, is responsible to the Parliament for the administration of public affairs.

Prima facie breach of privilege

See: breach of privilege.

Press gallery

(1) A gallery in the Chamber reserved for accredited members of the media.
(2) Members of the media accredited to cover the proceedings of Parliament and so granted access to the gallery reserved for them.

Presiding officer

See: Chair.

President of the Senate

The presiding officer of the Senate.

Precinct of Parliament

The Parliament House and its offices and curtilages. Members enjoy certain rights and privileges within the precincts of Parliament.


A Speaker’s ruling or a practice of the House taken as a rule for subsequent cases of a similar nature. Not all decisions and practices constitute precedents.

Preamble (of a bill)

The part of some bill preceding the main text which states the reasons for its introduction and the ends which it seeks to attain. Preambles are required in all special majority bills.

Prayer (of a petition)

That part of a petition in which the petitioners present their request for action. The prayer must be concise, clear and respectful; and the action requested must be within the jurisdiction of Parliament.

Postponement of a clause

Under certain conditions, a committee may postpone consideration of a clause for a time.