Symbols of Republic as Parliament opens

The first session of Parliament since the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won a historic second 30-0 sweep of General Elections on January 19 opened with fanfare and ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford centre earlier today.

The opening session showed all of  the signs that Barbados is charting a new path for its governance and development.

Gone were the trappings of a colonial past traditionally on display on such an occasion, replaced by with heraldic symbols representative of the new Barbados of which the President, the Most Honorable Dame Sandra Mason spoke when she delivered the President’s address to the two Houses of Parliament.

Members of the Senate were already assembled in separate rooms when blazing police sirens signalled the arrival of the President in a sleek vehicle bearing the Barbados Coat of Arms instead of the British Crown.

The President’s new standard was hoisted and fluttered in the morning breeze as Dame Sandra mounted the dais at the base of the steps at the front of the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre to be given a Presidential Salute by a 34-strong detachment of the Barbados Defence Force.

Fittingly, the band of the Barbados Police Service played “Beautiful Barbados” while the President, dressed in a dusty rose pink two-piece suit with matching wide-brimmed hat and pink and bronze shoes, inspected the parade before proceeding inside.

With the event taking place in an environment in which the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced certain restrictions, it was a scaled-down affair compared to previous State Openings of Parliament.

However, some guests and parliamentarians, in keeping with the tradition, were turned out by the island’s leading fashion designers. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley wore an understated but classic white linen dress with long-sleeved jacket, a Pauline Bellamy creation.

By noon, both the Upper and Lower House had already completed a brief individual sitting, Government’s plans for its new term had been delivered and the President was on her way back to State House. (GC)

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