PM fills senate seats  on Government’s side
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September 17, 2013

PM fills senate seats on Government’s side

After a month of speculation, Camillo Michael Gonsalves, Robert Theodore Luke Vincent Browne and Jomo Thomas were yesterday announced as the persons who will fill the three vacant senatorial positions on the Government side of the House of Assembly.{{more}}

Gonsalves, this country’s former permanent representative to the United Nations, was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and Information Technology, while Browne, an economist, was sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture.

Both men took an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, an oath of office and an oath of secrecy, during an official ceremony at Government House.

Lawyer and social commentator Thomas, who will fill the third vacant position, will swear an oath of allegiance as a senator on Thursday, during a sitting of the House of Assembly. Gonsalves and Browne will also swear an oath of allegiance on Thursday, as they take up their posts as parliamentarians.

In brief remarks at the ceremony, Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne extended congratulations to the senators, whom he said are all bright and outstanding Vincentians. He also told the senators that with their new positions, persons would expect a lot from them.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that service to one’s country and, by extension, service to humanity is one of the most noble traits any individual can possess,” Ballantyne said.

“I think that you should all feel honoured that you’ve been given this opportunity to serve the country. I hope that through your actions and utterances, you will make all Vincentians proud”.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves described the present government as one that “refreshes itself and changes and evolves so that people can be satisfied that there is a mixture of solidity and experience and visionary leadership”.

Gonsalves, who is also the father of new senator Camillo Gonsalves, highlighted the men’s various qualifications and stated that he is confident in their ability to perform in their new capacities.

“I have absolutely no doubt that these three young men, each of whom satisfies all of the leadership and constitutional requirements for membership in the House as senators, that they also possess the experience and the skill and the immense promise,” the Prime Minister said.

Browne, Thomas and Gonsalves stated that they were honoured and happy to take up their new positions.

Browne, who unsuccessfully contested the East Kingstown seat for the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) in 2010, acknowledged that his job would not be an easy one, but he is ready to face whatever challenges may come his way.

“It’s good to be a senator. I know that it wouldn’t necessarily be smooth sailing all the time, but I’m prepared for the challenges as they come and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines… to bring new ideas where necessary and to also benefit from the wisdom of those who have been there before me,” Browne told SEARCHLIGHT.

Thomas also shared Browne’s views.

“I think it’s an honour to be appointed,” he said.

“It’s an awesome task, a tremendous responsibility that I think that I would be able to carry out the responsibility that has been accorded me and I look forward to be in the parliament and be speaking for the people’s business”.

Gonsalves is also eager to represent the citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines in his new capacity.

“It’s a very overwhelming experience. I was very honoured that I was asked to serve the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines in this capacity and I hope that I can live up to the trust and faith that the Government has placed in me,” he said.

“I look forward to a very active and earnest service on behalf of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

The three men replace former senators Douglas Slater, David Browne and Elvis Charles, who attended their last sitting of Parliament on August 15.

Slater, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs, demitted office to take up the post of Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, responsible for human and social development. Charles, the former parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, has been appointed manager of the Housing and Land Development Corporation, while Browne demitted office to further his studies both by distance and face-to-face learning. (BK)

See more photos from the swearing in ceremony at: