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Winners may take seats Wednesday

 

Carol Winker

Thursday 12th May, 2005   Posted: 15:46 CIT   (20:46 GMT)

The 15 candidates elected to serve as Members of the Legislative Assembly are expected to take their oath of office on Wednesday, 18 May. The date cannot be confirmed, however, until the Governor Mr. Bruce Dinwiddy issues the formal proclamation calling the first session of the new House. He was expected to do so late yesterday.

At a ceremony in the Assembly Building, the MLAs will swear or affirm their allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and Her Successors.

The three official members of Government will also be present to take their oath of office: Chief Secretary George McCarthy; Attorney General Samuel Bulgin and Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson.

After the MLAs are duly sworn or affirmed, the Governor will leave the chamber.

The next business on the agenda is for the MLAs to choose the Speaker of the House. The Speaker may be from amongst themselves or may be a person who meets the same qualifications as an MLA.

For this business to be conducted, the presiding officer will be the MLA with the longest continuous service in the House. That person is Mr. McKeeva Bush, who has been elected to represent West Bay since 1984.

Once the Speaker takes the chair, the first business will be for the 15 MLAs to elect from amongst themselves five people to serve as Cabinet ministers.

The Governor will return to the chamber to swear in the five chosen ministers.

Until the new Cabinet is sworn, the previous ministers continue in office, even if they lost election as MLA.

The above procedure follows the same format as in previous years after elections. One big difference, however, comes about as a result of the recent amendment to the Constitution that provides for a Leader of Government Business and a Leader of the Opposition.

These are no longer simply titles bestowed on the leader of the majority and the leader of the minority. They are positions the Governor will formally recognise by presenting instruments of appointment. These presentations will also be part of Wednesday’s ceremony.

The Governor also officially assigns ministries after consultation with those elected to Cabinet. It was not immediately known when this would take place, but in the past it has generally been a matter of just days.

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