After reports surfaced of Renardo Curry’s inordinate number of absences on March 22 the North Abaco MP defended his attendance record at House of Assembly.
Mr. Curry reportedly told reporters in Nassau that he was “challenged” by the conflicting nature of his jobs as both MP and parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister in Abaco.
According to the report Mr. Curry has been absent from parliamentary proceedings 102 times out of the 220 times the House of Assembly has met this term.
Mr. Curry, in an interview with reporters outside of the House of Assembly, said it has been “somewhat of a challenge” moving “back and forth” between Abaco, where he and his family live, and New Providence to honour both obligations.
He added that it would be “more questionable” if MPs that live in New Providence and represent constituencies situated in the capital are notably absent from the House, as he said it is “much more convenient” for them to attend proceedings.
Mr. Curry suggested that his attendance in the House of Assembly should not be a measure of his performance as a member of Parliament, saying that “representation is about understanding what the people really need, and getting those things done” as opposed to “just making a speech” in the House.
He said that “I am the parliamentary secretary placed in the Office of the Prime Minister in Abaco, and I don’t have an apartment here in Nassau, so it’s been somewhat of a challenge, back and forth. Much of my workload would include me having to do a number of things there, so it would keep me there sometimes, more often than I would like to.
“But the House of Assembly, when I try to come as much as possible, I try to be here to make my contribution. But it’s unfortunate that on the eve of an election, they (newspaper) would print such things to try and discredit me and my representation in Abaco.”
He added: “In North Abaco, the people of North Abaco know that I am always on the ground, I live among them, and the reality is the job is a very strenuous job, it entails a lot of work not only at the Office of the Prime Minister in Abaco, but travelling to Nassau. And often times when I’m in Nassau, I’m about different ministries doing what we need to do to accomplish our work.
“And so yes they can make a political point out of it, but for me, I believe representation is about understanding what the people really need, and getting those things done.”
He added that “it’s not that I’m taking some time off to play golf or take a vacation. No, it’s no such thing. It would always be that I would be always present at my office, and I’ll follow those deliberations at the House of Assembly, even though I may not be physically present.”
“Most of the members of Parliament that you see in the House with the exception of some of them, most of them live here in Nassau. They have homes here. So it’s much more convenient for individuals like that who are a part of the House of Assembly to be present.”
Mr. Curry said he is looking into securing some form of lodging in New Providence “to make it much more convenient in keeping that balance.” However, he maintained that his performance as an MP should not be judged solely on his attendance record.
“It would be one thing to say that Mr Curry would have missed all these days in the House of Assembly and nothing was done on the ground to show for it,” he said. “The reality is there is evidence on the ground that shows that work is being done in North Abaco and has been done to better the constituency as a whole.”
In the same time period Edison Key, MP for Central and South Abaco, missed twenty.