It was a much quieter atmosphere in the Parliament Yard and around the precincts yesterday than was the case last week for the State Opening of Parliament.
The was little fuss as Government and Opposition members prepared to take their places for the first sitting of the House of Assembly following the February 21 general election.
A scant group of people waited quietly outside the gates, raising no fanfare as the MPs drove past, except for when Opposition Leader Mia Mottley arrived. She parked her vehicle and strode across to acknowledge greetings from a few people.
City of Bridgetown MP Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic was among the early arrivals, and he spoke briefly to the MIDWEEK NATION about his plans for his constituency.
He said he intended to work on “enhancing and uplifting” Bridgetown’s communities and residents.
“The City of Bridgetown has been designated a World Heritage city and I want to extend that to include the communities and the residents that constitute the City of Bridgetown,” Bostic said, while also touching on plans to establish a youth academy for the education and development of the young people living in Bridgetown.
He also mentioned a “job centre” planned for the constituency office, where young people would be trained for the world of work and assisted with job placement.
Late and preparing to race up the steps of Parliament, Opposition Leader Mottley paused briefly to respond to a question about her approach to House debates this time around.
“At all times, we will keep the country’s interest first, but at the same time hold Government accountable and ensure that what they do and how they do it is in a way that befits what Barbadian people need at this very critical time,” she said.
Newly elected St James North Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson of the Barbados Labour Party simply said, “I look forwardto making a maiden speech.”
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was early, his official vehicle MP 2 turning into the Parliament Yard at 9:50 a.m. Among those following him in rapid succession were Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, Minister of Health John Boyce, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley.
Opposition members Maria Agard, Dwight Sutherland and Kerrie Symmonds headed straight for the Opposition quarters in the West Wing.
At 10 a.m. sharp with Agard and St Peter MP Owen Arthur leading, the BLP parliamentarians crossed the yard and ascended the steps of Parliament.
Ten minutes later when the bell signalled the start of a new session of Parliament, not yet there to answer it were the Opposition Leader, Deputy Speaker Mara Thompson, Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick, Minister of Education Ronald Jones, Opposition MPs Dale Marshall and Ronald Toppin, and Minister of Transport and Works Minister Michael Lashley.
They all turned up eventually to participate in the first debate in what many have said would be “an interesting new session of Parliament” in view of the close (16-14) elction result.