Today’s Ceremonial Opening of Parliament will see a number of new faces taking their seats in both Houses of Parliament.
It marks the return to Parliament of former Congress government minister, Glynis Roberts, the current political leader of the small National United Front (NUF) which did not take part in the March 13 general election.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Dr. Mitchell said that Roberts who campaigned for the ruling New National Party (NNP) in the election is heading to the Upper House to serve as an “Independent” Senator.
Prior to the election, Roberts had told a local radio station that NUF would not be contesting the poll as most of its members had left to work with NNP.
A surprise inclusion in the list of Senators is female attorney-at-law, Katisha Williams who is attached to the law office of Derick Sylvester & Associates headed by Derek Sylvester, the current Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Well-placed sources told this newspaper that Sylvester visited his hometown in St. David during the election campaign and allegedly encouraged persons to vote for NNP at the polls.
About a month ago, Prime Minister Mitchell had announced the names of four persons who will sit on the government side in the senate – outgoing President Chester Humphrey and Government ministers, Nolan Cox, Simon Stiell and Pastor Winston Garraway.
The list of Government Senators are completed by President of the NNP Youth Arm, Judd Cadett, female attorney-at-law, Kim George of Kim George & Associates.
Apart from Roberts, the sectoral interest groups would be represented by Independent Senators – Andre Lewis (Labour), Dr. Dustan Campbell (Agriculture) and Christopher DeAllie (Private Sector), appointed by Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) which failed to win a seat in the election was alloted two places in the Senate -Kerryne James and Ron Redhead of the party’s youth arm.
In commenting on the Senatorial appointments, Dr. Mitchell said the persons selected will provide balance in the Upper House including the four appointed female senators.
He also said that the decision to give Cadett a place in the Senate was in-keeping with a promise made to the party prior to the election.
“… I did promise the party, post-election that I would recognise the work of the youth arm of our party by the appointment of someone from their particular area to send the right message that we firmly believe that the young people have a very good idea what they want and that we can’t decide by ourselves what they wish to have and therefore, having one of their own, in the mix of what we’re doing, send the right message…”, he said.
“We’ve got very good positive recommendation from not just inside the party but outside of the party that (is why) we’re asking Miss Katisha Williams (and) from reports about her own professional work, we’ve got high commendation.
PM Mitchell also commented briefly on the decision of the NDC to exclude from its list of names submitted to the Governor-General for consideration all those candidates who took part in the just-ended election.
He said: “She (Dame Cecile) did write the party that had the second largest share votes in the General Elections, that’s the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – sought to have recommendations from them. They sent us three recommendations and they indicated ….that they did not want any member of their party who ran in the last General Election (to be) recommended for the Senate.
“So, they gave her three persons and she in her own deliberate judgement (has) decided that she would take two of those persons – Kerryne James …. and Mr. Ron Redhead. They are both young persons – I don’t know those individuals…,” he added.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the NDC nominee who was rejected by Dame Cecile for a possible senatorial appointment was Glen Noel who managed the campaign for Congress.
Today’s ceremonial opening of The Houses of Representatives will also see all 15 NNP winning candidates taking their seats in the Lower House of Parliament.