The remaining Members of Parliament took the Oath of Allegiance before Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at Government House today.
Among them Speaker of the House of Assembly Arthur Holder, who said he had tasked himself with ensuring that the people’s business was conducted with a degree of civility and decorum.
“The job is obviously a challenging one but I take all jobs seriously. My role as a Speaker is to ensure that the people’s business is conducted with a degree of civility and decorum, that is my main emphasis to ensure that we conduct the people’s business and this is done subscribing to all the standing orders and to ensure that they are not abused, that will be my main focus,” Holder said.
During today’s short ceremony, the oath was also administered to Member of Parliament for St Philip North Dr Sonia Browne, who is the Chairman of Committees; Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke, who is Deputy Speaker of the House; Member of Parliament for Christ Church South MP Ralph Thorne, QC, and Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central Ian Gooding-Edghill.
Today, Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn was also sworn in as a member of the Upper House following the May 24 general elections in which the Barbados Labour Party claimed all 30 seats.
However, since then Bishop Joseph Atherley, who was elected as the BLP representative for St Michael West, has crossed the floor to become leader of the Opposition and has named Franklyn as one of his two senators.
“Over the years you have seen what I do. I am not going to change. The only thing that will change now is people going to call me ‘Senator’. That’s the only change that you will see. I have some pre-conceived ideas . . . . I come to this job with preconceived ideas because I have been lobbying for change in this country for too long and if I can effect some change I will be happy,” the outspoken trade unionist said.
Arguing that trade unionism and politics have always gone hand in hand, he said he was looking forward to the task, especially now that he and his Barbados Workers’ Union counterpart Toni Moore were in the Senate.
“My problem is that trade unionists of recent . . . they have forgotten who are their real constituency, the members that they were representing. I am sure Toni knows and I know and you might see a change in the way workers are represented now, at least in the Senate,” he added.
Bishop Atherley was on hand to lend support to Franklyn and also to congratulate his former BLP colleagues who are newcomers to the House of Assembly.
“Let me compliment two or three young men and one young woman. These are people of integrity, fine mettle. I am glad to see that they are getting the opportunity to serve at this level . . . . I am sure they come to public life with an honest heart and I am glad to see them here as part of this process today.
“This is institutional democracy in practice and I am glad that I am a Barbadian,” said Atherley who left the BLP fold and crossed the floor of Parliament, one week after it was given a resounding victory in the May 24 general election.
Dame Sandra congratulated all those who were sworn in and wished them well in their new roles.
“I expect on behalf of Barbados that each of them in [bear] true allegiance to the country . . . and that they will continue to do their country proud. I wish you all the best,” the Governor General said.