October 07, 2021
FOR the first time in Bahamian history women will lead both the House of Assembly and the Senate simultaneously.
Senator LaShell Adderley was appointed president of the upper chamber and Bamboo Town MP Patricia Deveaux was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly during the opening of a new session of Parliament yesterday.
While women have more frequently led the Senate in recent years, Ms Deveaux’s election as House Speaker is only the second time in Parliament’s 297 year history that a woman has headed the lower chamber. It is also the first time a Progressive Liberal Party majority government has chosen female leadership.
In her first speech as the 55th speaker of the House of Assembly, Ms Deveaux said she would not only seek to prove herself worthy of the office, but also protect the rights and privileges of members of Parliament.
“I will seek to prove myself worthy of my office,” Ms Deveaux said. “I will aim as high as I can to maintain the decorum, respect, dignity and fidelity in this honourable House.
“I assure you that I will claim from his excellency all of the ancient rights and privileges that have been historically afforded to members of Parliament. These rights and privileges extended beyond those of ordinary citizens, particularly the privilege of freedom of speech.
“I would urge honourable members not to abuse these privileges. I intend to protect the privileges of this House and members so that they can enjoy all of those unfettered freedoms to speak on behalf of Bahamians and I caution you not to abuse these rights.
“We cannot afford any slippage in any of those areas if we intend to advance the institution.”
She further noted that the sessional committees would soon be named.
“I wish to remind the honourable members that these beliefs are a part of the construct of the institution. They play a very important role in the overall functioning of the legislative branch of our Parliamentary democracy.
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