ST Vincent and the Grenadines has its first female Speaker in its House of Parliament.
House Speaker Rochelle Forde, 44, a lawyer and former senator created history on Monday as she sat in the Speaker’s chair and was lauded by parliamentarians for her achievement.
iWitnessNews reported from the Parliament’s sitting, quoting several of the members’ congratulatory messages.
Re-elected Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who had nominated Forde said, “I’ve been advised that you are the first woman who has been elected speaker of this honourable house. You’ve served this house before as a senator and as deputy speaker and you functioned in both roles with distinction. I have absolutely no doubt that you will serve very well and I thank you very much for agreeing to serve in this exalted position.”
Deputy Prime Minister and MP for North Leeward, Montgomery Danielle said, “I remember a few years ago both of us sat in these hallowed walls and we worked well. You have now risen to higher level and I know, of course, you can do very well in that position and I am looking forward to working with you for the next five years and I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity and I thank all the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for re-electing the Unity Labour Party to office where we can serve this country again.”
Government Senator Ashelle Morgan, a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience, was also declared deputy speaker of the House of Assembly, having been the only nominee.
“It’s the first time we are having a woman as speaker and a woman as deputy speaker,” Gonsalves said.
About Morgan he said, “I am quite sure that she will do well. She has had some training in the state administration. She served for a few years in the tenders’ board and got to understand the workings of government.”
Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday also congratulated the speaker on her election, adding that he was looking forward to working with her in the house.
“I anticipate and expect and demand that you, in the performance of your duty, will do so with the impartiality required by your position and using your experience as your training that you will conduct the affairs of the house in the highest level of professionalism and within the spirit of democracy. We are in a Parliament which is really a place for us to be talking and so debates in this honourable house should be allowed to represent fully the interest of the people who stand upon behalf of those who send us here.”
MP for Central Leeward Orando Brewster said, “I want to congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on your new position in this honourable house. It is a tremendous and a momentous occasion for us to have at the helm in the speakership a woman of your stature.”
MP for East Kingstown Dwight Fitzgerald Bramble said, “I have to say I am proud of you and just as you were an excellent student, I anticipate and expect you performing your duties with the highest level of professionalism and integrity and impartiality and always striving for excellence.”
The MPs also congratulated Morgan in her role adding that for the first time, two women held such positions together in the House.