(CMR) The swearing-in ceremony was not without some tension as the first order of business was voting for who would be Speaker of Parliament. In a surprise move, the leader of the Opposition, Roy McTaggart, moved MP Barbara Conolly to be nominated as Speaker of Parliament.
The move came after McKeeva Bush was nominated by MP Jay Ebanks of North Side. This left the newly sworn-in members to then vote by secret ballot to decide who would be the Speaker.
The results were 12:7 in favor of MP Bush. Bush had brokered a deal to become Speaker with the independent PACT members several days ago. It appears that all remained loyal to the house division as the only votes she received were likely the 7 from the opposition bench.
Within a few minutes, Bush donned his Speaker wig and gave his opening speech asking for unity for the betterment of the community. He appeared optimistic as he noted that we move forward and onward; acknowledged mistakes of the past were made.
He noted that he was “too positive to be doubtful … too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated … on to the work before us.”
He then quoted Frost as he noted that:
“I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”
MP Andre Ebanks then nominated Katherine Wilks as Deputy Speaker and that was also challenged by the opposition who then nominated Barbara Connolly yet again. For a second time this afternoon, she was defeated 11:7. The additional vote earlier was because Bush was still involved in the voting process.
Heather Bodden nominated the member for Newlands, Wayne Panton to be Premier which was seconded by Kenneth Bryan with no objection this time by the opposition. He accepted the nomination.
The Honorable Governor Martyn Roper, OBE presented the Instruments of Appointment to the Premier and Leader of the Opposition which officially conferred the positions on the two leaders of Parliament.
In other noteworthy news from the day, Julianna O'Connor-Connolly dressed in a red hat and dress was the only member of the former Progressives government that sat with the new PACT group.