Momentous occasion

Family members and close friends of the Opposition members witnessing their swearing-in at Government House today.(EJ)
Family members and close friends of the Opposition members witnessing their swearing-in at Government House today.(EJ)

Some arrived alone, others with their parents, or close relatives, while a group of five was led into Government House this morning by new Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley and her predecessor, Owen Arthur, for the swearing-in ceremony of 14 elected Opposition parliamentarians and two senators.

One of the more notable attendees was former Barbados Labour Party Government minister, Delisle Bradshaw, who was there to support his daughter and new comer to the House of Assembly, Santia Bradshaw, the MP for St. Michael South East.

dwightandparentsAnother new comer, Dwight Sutherland, the St. George South Member of Parliament, was also accompanied by his parents, while St. James South representative, Edmund Hinkson, also a first-timer, arrived with his wife and mother.

Minutes later, Mottley and Arthur walked side-by-side past a battery of waiting reporters and “clicking” photographers, as they led a team of colleagues — St. James Central MP, Kerrie Symmonds, St. Andrew representative, George Payne, unsuccessful candidate for Christ Church South, Dr. Jerome Walcott, who will be going to the Senate, MP for the City, Jeffrey Bostic, Christ Church East losing candidate, Wilfred Abrahams, now a senator, and St. Michael North MP, Ronald Toppin.

The MPs and their supporters were soon ushered upstairs for the momentous occasion. Once everyone was gathered in the upper room of the century old Government House, they were given instructions as to how the proceedings would go — and waited.

About five minutes later, Governor-General Sir Elliott Belgrave, walked into a hushed room and immediately went through the routine of administering the oaths of office to the 14 elected MPs and two senators.

From the reaction of the 16, it was evident that the Governor-General’s interaction with them as they sat to sign the register, provoked immense pleasure. For what it was worth, four of them chose not to sign with the pen provided by the head of State, opting to use their personal pens.

Of those who preferred to use their own writing instruments — Mottley, Arthur, Dale Marshall and Symmonds — perhaps the most significant was Mottley’s decision to do so.

“My grandfather [Deighton Mottley] signed with this when he was Opposition Leader,” Mottley told Barbados TODAY afterward.

When all had taken their oaths, Sir Elliott invited them to take a group photograph with him and then mingle. The ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ended one hour and four minutes later. (EJ)††

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