Hundreds packed the streets surrounding Government Headquarters while dignitaries filed into the National Assembly Chambers on Thursday (May 14) to witness the opening of the Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis.
A Guard of Honour comprising units from the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force, Coast Guard Unit and Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force were on hand to welcome the new Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and other members of the government of national unity as they entered the parliament for the first time as the elected government.
After the customary protocol, the first order of business saw the nomination and election of Franklin Brand as the Speaker of the National Assembly. This was followed by the nomination and election of Senator Michael Perkins as Deputy Speaker. Members of Parliament then took the Oath of Allegiance: Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris as the member for St. Christopher 7, Honourable Shawn Richards as the member for St. Christopher 5, Honourable Vance Amory as the member for Nevis 10, Honourable Mark Brantley as the member for Nevis 9, Honourable Eugene Hamilton as the member for St. Christopher 8, Honourable Lindsay Grant as the member for St. Christopher 4, Honourable Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd as the member for St. Christopher 1. Attorney General Honourable Vincent Byron, Honourable Wendy Phipps and Honourable Michael Perkins took the oath as Senators. Members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition representing St. Christopher 2, 3 and 6 as well as Nevis 11 and their nominated Senator were absent.
After the members were sworn in, the Governor General’s Deputy His Excellency Samuel Weymoth Tapley Seaton read the throne speech outlining the key priorities and programmes of the government for the next five years.
Many of the persons who gathered outside of Government Headquarters cheered the members of parliament and were enthusiastic to witness the proceedings.
“It is a historical occasion and I wanted to witness it for myself,” exclaimed Moses. Vanessa agreed and added “the military parade was good and I like the fact that a crowd is here to cheer on the [representative] that they voted for but they are doing it with order and dignity.”
“I am so happy,” expressed Eustace, making reference to the perfect weather. “Look at the people’s faces, they are looking very proud and happy. He expressed confidence in government’s agenda to develop the country and empower the people, adding prayers for the blessing of the twin-island Federation and for the population to work together and grow in love and unity. Louisa also offered prayers for the nation expressing a desire for “peace, love and harmony among the people.”