Record number of women in senate

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Record number of women in senate

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— A record number of women have been appointed to serve in the new 21-member Senate.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith, who was herself appointed for a third time by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, made the observation yesterday.

Four of the 13 selected Government Senators are women, while four of the eight appointed Opposition Senators are women.

“It is…a point for acknowledgement, even as we continue to strive for more. The fact is that it is the largest percentage that we have ever achieved, even as we celebrate in that other place (Lower House) the record high number of women who will also take their place today,” she said, while addressing the swearing-in ceremony for senators during the sitting of the Senate at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, yesterday.

Senator Johnson Smith also thanked all her colleagues who were a part of the last term of the Senate “who did important work”, noting that much more remains to be done.

“I welcome those who now join us and look forward to working with you in partnership across the aisle and amongst each other as colleagues all committed to service to Jamaica,” she said.

In his remarks, Tom Tavares-Finson, who was re-elected president of the Senate, also acknowledged the increased number of women now serving in the Upper House.

He thanked the members of the Senate “for the confidence reposed in me for the second time and I will endeavour to ensure that the confidence so placed is in no way misguided.”

The president expressed the hope that each member recognises the responsibility that they have to the people and the country…“and that our debates and the approach that we take to the legislative process reflect the seriousness and the weight of the responsibility placed on our shoulders.”

In the meantime, Donna Scott Mottley, who also retained her post of Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, congratulated all who have returned to the Upper House, while welcoming the new members on both sides and pledging her support “to all those who need any guidance or advice. I would be absolutely pleased to provide it.”

“The work that we have to do here is extremely important. We have taken an oath which I know all of us take very seriously. From our side, our role becomes even more important with our reduced numbers in that other place, but the most important thing is that, we be diligent, that we remember at all times that it is our duty not to be partisan, but to put at the forefront of our minds the people of Jamaica who we have pledged to serve and we do so unreservedly,” she said.

The other Government members sworn in were Charles Sinclair, who has been appointed deputy president; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Matthew Samuda; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Aubyn Hill; Kavan Gayle; Ransford Braham; Don Wehby; Delroy Williams; and Dr Saphire Longmore.

The newcomers are Natalie Campbell Rodriques; Sherene Golding Campbell; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell.

The other Opposition members who have been reappointed are Lambert Brown; Dr Floyd Morris; Sophia Frazer Binns; and Damion Crawford. The new appointees are Norman Horne, Janice Allen; and Gabriella Morris.

The ceremony in the Senate was followed by the swearing-in ceremony for Members of Parliament during the sitting of the House of Representatives. The ceremonies marked the opening of the new session of Parliament, which had been dissolved on Thursday, August 13, to allow for the September 3 general election.

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