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Bahamian Parliament Over The Years

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Opening of Parliament was historic as both houses now boasts having a woman at the helm. With a glimpse into the history of Parliament, here’s our Jillian Gray

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Opening of Parliament was historic as both houses now boasts having a woman at the helm. With a glimpse into the history of Parliament, here’s our Jillian Gray.

 



Those words from Sir Lynden Pindling marked an iconic start for The Bahamas.

The road to get to independence though started long before that, in 1964 when the first written constitution outlined parliament as the senate and House of Assembly, with the governor general to represent the British monarch.

The constitution of The Bahamas which is based on the Westminster model is made of the Executive Branch or Cabinet, the Legislative Branch which is parliament, and the Judicial Branch.

Historically the royal governors would rule by decree even when parliament was created.

Now legislation must go through both the senate and House of Assembly to be passed.

Any senator or member of parliament can introduce a bill once it does not touch the consolidated fund as only a cabinet minister can bring that type of legislation.

But it’s not just parliamentarians who have a say, Clerk of Parliament David Forbes says the people are the loudest voice and they are heard through the questions they give their MP’s to raise in the House of Assembly.

Though some ministers are offended when questions are asked, Forbes says it wasn’t that way in the past as ministers would take pride in finding out the answer and bringing it back to the people’s house.

The opening of parliament Wednesday was historic as there has never been a female speaker of the house and female president of the senate at the same time.

Italia Johnson is the only woman to have held the speakers post.

Since dame Doris Johnson was elected president of the senate in 1973 there have been five women to follow in her footsteps.

From the very first opening of parliament in 1729 to now The Bahamas prides itself on a long history of parliamentary proceedings, a source of pride for many.

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