By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
PARLIAMENT opened with much pomp and pageantry yesterday, as hundreds of supporters braved the rain dressed in their best to watch the newly elected Members of Parliament take their oaths.
Crime and economic recovery and growth will dominate the Government’s agenda, as laid out by Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes in his delivery of the Speech from the Throne.
He said: “Firstly, the need to reduce violence and crime and build a safer Bahamas. Secondly, but in tandem with the fight against crime is the need to build a stronger economy that generates jobs, deepens and broadens Bahamian ownership and produces a higher standard of living for all Bahamians.
“Those twin imperatives will dominate the agenda for action of my new Government.”
Despite inclement weather the ceremony began promptly at 10am, opening with members of government and their wives, led by Prime Minister Perry Christie and his wife Bernadette Christie, walking the red carpet to their seats in the House of Assembly.
Supporters, many wearing traditional hats, sat in the public square under large tents decorated in the Bahamas flag’s colours of blue, yellow and black, excitedly watching the proceedings.
During the ceremony Speaker of the House Kendal Major and Deputy Speaker Dion Smith were elected to their posts. Members took their Oaths of Allegiance before proceeding once again to Parliament Square to hear Sir Arthur read the Speech from the Throne, officially opening the 2012 Parliamentary Session.
Jeers interrupted an otherwise smooth and peaceful ceremony when opposition members were booed both when they walked into Parliament and while they took their oaths of office. A small contingent of FNMs, however, could be seen grouped together in their red party colours as a show of support.
Following the adjournment of the House of Assembly members were hosted at Government House by Sir Arthur.