The Opening of Parliament looks significantly different from previous years as members of parliament took their seats in the relocated House of Assembly, before hundreds of Bahamians.
Traditionally, the Opening of Parliament is held in Rawson Square, but Parliament has been relocated to the Baha Mar Convention Center citing the threat of adverse weather, the demolition of the Churchill Building and seating limitations due to social distancing protocols.
The pomp and pageantry were on full display as parliamentarians arrived with their spouses, family members and supporters.
Prime Minister Philip Davis, Opposition Leader Hubert Minnis and other members of parliament took their oath of office in Baha Mar as Governor-General C.A Smith inspected the colour guard comprising of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Guard.
Proceedings for the Lower and Upper Chambers were held in different rooms where Bamboo Town MP Patricia Deveaux was appointed the House Speaker and Senator Lashell Adderley was appointed Senate President, respectively.
Members from both chambers soon recessed and walked to the main room to hear the Speech from the Throne read by Smith, who outlined the new government’s policies and agenda which include the reduction of Value Added Tax to 10 percent, the building of two new hospitals in New Providence and Grand Bahama, amendment of the debt management plan, implementation of renewable energy, improve greater food security, introduction of regulations for the framework for the cannabis industry, introduction of measures to reintroduce prisoners into the workforce, expungement of the records of young people caught with small amounts of marijuana and the increase of the minimum wage.
The big picture
The opening of Parliament follows the September 16 early election when the Progressive Liberal Party won 32 seats in the House of Assembly. The FNM became the Opposition winning 7 seats.