The Montserrat Legislative Assembly (MLA) is a group of people who are responsible for making the laws of Montserrat. In fact, the main function of the Legislative Assembly is to make laws. The first step in the process is for a member, usually a Cabinet member, to propose a law. This comes to the Legislative Assembly in the form of a bill, which is then debated. If the Assembly agrees, the Bill goes to a Committee to be looked at in detail and sometimes changes are recommended. These changes must be reported back to the Legislative Assembly and approval sought by the Member who brought the Bill to the House, for the Bill to be read and passed. Once the Legislative Assembly passes the Bill, it will receive its final formatting and adjustments. At this stage, it is called an Act. The Act is then forwarded to the Governor for his assent. Once the assent is given, the Act becomes a part of the laws, which govern Montserrat
From time to time, there is a need to amend an Act to reflect what is happening in society. Therefore, there are times when a Bill goes to the Legislative Assembly to seek amendments to the parent Act. Once the House approves the changes, the Act is adjusted accordingly.
How Does One Become a Member of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly?
Of the Members who sit in the Legislative Assembly, nine are elected by means of General Elections. Any number of persons may be nominated as candidates to participate in the General Elections; however, it is the nine persons who obtain the most votes that will form part of the new Legislative Assembly. The Assembly normally comprises Members of the Government and Members of the Opposition. The Party with the largest number of elected persons forms the new Government, while the other elected members will form the Opposition.
The Attorney General and the Financial Secretary are ex-officio Members of the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly elects the Speaker, and he/she presides over the House. The Montserrat Constitution Order makes provision for the election of a Speaker, as well as, for the Attorney General and Financial Secretary to be part of the Legislative Assembly.
What is the Life Span of the Legislative Assembly?
The Legislative Assembly can operate for a period of up to five years, after the first sitting of the Assembly. However, General Elections may be called before the five-year term is up. For General Elections to take place, the Legislative Assembly has to be dissolved. This means that all regular meetings will cease. This then makes way for campaigning and preparing for General Elections.
Other Names for the Montserrat Legislative Assembly
The Montserrat Legislative Assembly is essentially the Parliament. As in most other parliamentary jurisdictions, it is sometimes referred to as Parliament. The Assembly may also be referred to as the Legislature. In many jurisdictions, the place where they meet is called the House.