Year-Long Celebrations For Parliament’s 375th Anniversary

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A year of activities is being planned to mark the 375th anniversary of Barbados??? Parliament.

This was disclosed by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Carrington, as he addressed a press briefing at Parliament Buildings yesterday to discuss plans to celebrate the milestone.

He was accompanied by other Members of the Planning Committee, including President of the Senate, Kerryann Ifill; Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, John Boyce, and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Maxine McClean.

The Speaker pointed out that Barbados??? Parliament was the third oldest in the Commonwealth, behind Bermuda and England, and said activities would not only befit the historic occasion, but be in tune with the current financial constraints facing the Government. He explained that they would be educational and cultural in nature as a way of encouraging Barbadians from all walks of life to ???own the celebrations and feel as if they are part of them???.

He noted that in 1989, similar celebrations were staged to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of Parliament in Barbados.

Mr. Carrington said that to start the events, Government, in conjunction with the Royal Commonwealth Society, would be hosting a reception in the courtyard of Parliament on Friday, February 28. He noted that the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who will be in Barbados for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and as guests of the Royal Commonwealth Society, would be in attendance.

He noted that this event would necessitate some traffic changes in and around The City, but stressed that Bridgetown would remain open for business to facilitate commercial activity and to accommodate the 10,000 cruise ship passengers who are expected to be visiting on that day.

Outlining other events, President of the Senate, Kerryan Ifill said a special effort would be made to involve the youth. She added that a workshop would be held from April 8 to 9, for students of the University of the West Indies, the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and secondary schools to highlight parliamentary procedures.

She disclosed that during the month of August, it was proposed to have youth participate in a ???shadow??? activity that would see them observing the work done by the Clerk of Parliament, Members of Parliament and the Senate. Senator Ifill noted that a Youth Parliament Debate would be held in September with participants drawn from the workshops. She also said that a concert would be staged on September 28, at Ilaro Court, to coincide with National Youth Day.

In terms of the cultural activities, Senator McClean said the talent of Barbadians would be showcased during the Crop Over Folk Concert in the form of a play, entitled ???A Point of Order??? by Carl ???Alff??? Padmore; a series of free Christmas concerts at Parliament featuring local choirs; and paintings from the National Collection being placed on display at Parliament.

Mr. Boyce noted that there would be two major events in June, since it was the month that the first Parliamentary Assembly is believed to have met. He said a National Ecumenical Service would be held on June 15, at St. Mary???s Anglican church and a Joint Sitting of Parliament in the Lower House on the anniversary date, June 26. There will also be addresses by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House and Leader of the Opposition, he added.

Other events for the year will include a number of book publications; features on Parliament via the web, radio and television; lectures; and a visit by a Head of state.

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