Thursday, May 24, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Organizers on Wednesday rolled out the red carpet for the opening of the new Parliament and the customary Speech from the Throne, which outlines the incoming government’s legislative agenda.
Crowds of party supporters from both sides of the political divide lined the streets of downtown Nassau outside of Parliament, as newly elected members of the House of Assembly passed on their way to the first sitting of the Lower Chambers following the nation’s May 7 general elections.
Members elect assembled in the chamber of the House of Assembly shortly before 10am, when the parliamentary commissioner approached the Bar of the House and presented House Clerk Maurice Tynes with the writs and returns of the general elections, in addition to a certified list of the Members Elect.
Following a roll call, Tynes invited the members to elect a Speaker. It had previously been announced that the post would be filled by Kendal Major.
As speaker, Major promised to protect the dignity of the House and urged members to debate “factually, forcefully and respectfully.”
For his part, he promised to be “fair, yet fearless.”
Deputy Speaker Dion Smith pledged to execute his new duties “with the utmost integrity.”
During the proceedings parliamentarians took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Qualification.
Shortly after members exited the House and proceeded to Parliament Square where Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes delivered the Speech from the Throne.
Although the Governor General delivers the speech. It is written by the government with Cabinet’s approval.
The speech outlined the new Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government’s parliamentary agenda with two overriding imperatives: crime and the economy.
“Those twin imperatives will dominate the agenda for action of my new government,” said Sir Arthur.
During its term in office the PLP government intends to implement a full range of programmes, legislative proposals and policy initiatives.
It has already started with two of them: the creation of the Ministry of Grand Bahama to address issues in relation to the country’s second most populated island; and the restoration of the Ministry of Financial Services, which was first established during the PLP’s first term in office in 2002, but disbanded under the Free National Movement government.