UDP swears in woman Speaker of the House Print E-mail
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Written by By Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 19 January 2017 00:00

longsworth sworn in wide .jpg - 76.84 KbPrime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow had announced in mid-December that the new Speaker of the House of Representatives would be Laura Longsworth and true to the announcement she took up the position at the House Meeting held on Friday January 13th.

At the start of the meeting Prime Minister Barrow proposed that Mrs. Laura Tucker Longsworth be the new Speaker, that motion was seconded by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber. With there being no other nomination to the position, Mrs. Longsworth was escorted into the house chambers to take up the position. Shortly thereafter she was administered the oath of office after which she read from a prepared statement.

She stated as follows: “I stand before you as the first woman speaker nominated by the sitting government and the third woman who has been appointed speaker in the history of Belize. An important historical milestone is also being achieved as I am the first nurse to serve in the legislature as the speaker of the House of Representatives. I was confronted with numerous reasons for not accepting the nomination as speaker. But those reasons receded in order of importance when compared to the rare opportunity to represent women at this high level and my country as Speaker of the House of Representatives. One message that truly resonates with me is an encounter with an ordinary citizen of Belize, an older Creole woman who stopped me in the isle of the supermarket to inquire if I was that lady who would become the speaker of the house. Her message to me was, ‘darling I hope you can make them behave themselves, I feel really bad when I watch them on TV, and I always wonder why they have to act like that.’ Ironically she captured the main theme of messages that were expressed via social media, broadcast media and personally. Chaos and the complexity of business in the Honorable House is expected but it requires that members harmonize efforts to create better decorum in conducting business in National Assembly. It is with humility that I accept the position of Speaker and pledge to serve in a just and fair manner.”

Speaking on her appointment Hon. Dean Barrow said that, “Your accession will usher in a new era, an atmosphere entirely conducive to the smooth flow of business in parliament. Clearly there can be no forsaking spirited robust even fierce debate. Nobody wants a colorless bloodless house. Combativeness, though not incivility is surely allowed, even desirable. So let the words fly. Let the rhetoric be in passion, but let us never again descend into venom and vitriol. I say this madam speaker as one who has been guilty in the past, yes I have. But as one who now knows that cannot continue this because it is not right and because you our new madam speaker will not permit it.”

Echoing that sentiment was Leader of the Opposition Johnny Briceño who stated that, “I have listened to the Prime Minister’s comments and I’m happy to hear that he is also committing and admitting that over the past years there have many instances when the debate and the behavior in the house have gotten completely out of control and I do agree with the Creole lady that spoke with you, that whilst we are supposed to be giving the example to this country. In many instances the behavior in this house has been the exact opposite. We are going to do everything possible to cooperate with you and we will do our part to ensure that we have a level of civility in the house that is merited and that what I think every Belizean expects from each one of us.”

By the time the House adjourned both leaders had words of high praise for the New Speaker for the manner in which she conducted the day’s business.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2017 15:37

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