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Speaker to hold private sitting with Parliamentarians

Speaker to hold  private sitting with Parliamentarians
Speaker – Rochelle Forde

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In one of her first acts as Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rochelle Forde plans on holding a private sitting for members of Parliament so that they become more acquainted with the rules of Parliament.

Forde, who is the first woman to serve in this country’s Parliament as Speaker, was officially sworn in on Monday, November 30.

The newly elected speaker is a former senator and Deputy Speaker and in her remarks during this week’s sitting, she expressed the importance of knowing and following the rules of the House.

“We will forever be guided that the business of the House is the people’s business and this is a parliament of rules,” she said.

Forde said that she has spoken with both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition “and on the 17th December 2020 at 10 am sharp, right here at the House of Assembly, we will convene for sitting parliamentarians and staff only, a private morning meeting to familiarise members, and or to re-familiarise members with the standing orders of the House of Assembly”.

The newly elected Speaker said it would be a “distasteful irony” if the law-making body of St Vincent and the Grenadines did not follow its own rules.

She told Parliamentarians that both she and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines are looking forward to a debate that is healthy, constructive and lively, fused with moments of levity.

However, the Speaker said this must be done within the parameters of the standing orders and the confines of decency.
Forde described the private December 17 session as a “working parliament” and encouraged all parliamentarians to attend.

All parliamentarians were officially sworn into Parliament at Monday’s sitting.

The majority of parliamentarians currently sitting in Parliament have served in the House prior to the November 5 General Elections.

Newcomers include Orando Brewster, the parliamentary representative for Central Leeward and Fitz Bramble, the parliamentary representative for East Kingstown. They replace Sir Louis Straker and Arnhim Eustace respectively.

Carlos James, a former senator, Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the House returned to Parliament on Monday; this time as the parliamentary representative for North Leeward.

Shevern John is one of two senators on the opposing side of the House. She replaces lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who was nominated by Opposition Leader, Dr Godwin Friday for the position of Speaker. The former senator received only 8 of 22 votes, the majority having gone to Forde.

Three of four government senators; Ashelle Morgan, Keisal Peters and Rochard Ballah are also in the new Parliament.
Morgan, who is a lawyer by profession, also holds the Deputy Speaker position.

Forde, the new Speaker highlighted that this is the first time during the same session of Parliament that both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are women.

And she urged all parliamentarians to “not make the mistake of trying to resurrect an old, misguided stereotypical myth which in its folly somehow equated a particular gender with weakness”.

“Happily, as demonstrated here today on both sides of the aisle, that theory continues to be debunked,” Forde said.