Newly appointed senator, Mineva Glasgow, says that she is undaunted even as she comes to the post “at a time of unprecedented changes and challenges.
“My experience as an educator, a social security practitioner and a human resources consultant; I believe that my years of experience together with my Christian principles, commitment, loyalty, dedication, will allow me to make a substantive contribution to the debates and discussions in this house,” she told Parliament on Thursday.
“So, while I will debate vigorously, I will still maintain the dignity and honour of this house.”
On Thursday, Glasgow took the relevant oaths as she filled the senatorial post made vacant with the resignation of Carlos James, also of the Unity Labour Party (ULP).
James, who failed in his attempt to unseat North Leeward MP, Roland “Patel” Matthews of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in the December 2015 general election, was appointed a senator that same month.
However, he resigned the post earlier this month, and was elevated to Speaker, a post left empty with the February 2020 resignation of Jomo Thomas.
Glasgow, who is poised to be the ULP’s candidate in South Leeward in the next general elections, was elected deputy speaker last Thursday.
She also used her maiden speech in Parliament to urge fellow lawmakers to put national development ahead of partisan politics.
“I look forward to having a positive relationship with all the members of this honourable house,” Glasgow said on Thursday during her first meeting of Parliament.
“Yes, we can have our divergent views but we need to put the interest of Vincentians first and foremost,” she said.
Glasgow, a retired deputy director of the National Insurance Services, said that the business of Parliament is multifarious.
“We enact laws based on objective reasoning and must uphold the laws that are made,” she said.
Glasgow, a political neophyte, is tipped to be the ULP’s candidate for South Leeward in the next general election.
She will face off with the incumbent, Nigel “Nature” Stephenson of the NDP, who is vying for a third five-year term.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has said Vincentians will go to the poll by year-end, ahead of the March 2021 constitutional deadline.
Glasgow, who holds a doctorate, thanked the prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker and the Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday for their “kind words, of welcome.
“It is a privilege, and honour, for me to be asked to serve as the Deputy Speaker and as a senator,” said Glasgow shortly as she was elected deputy speaker.
“With your support and God’s help, I will discharge my duties humbly and with dignity,” she said.
Glasgow said that serving as the parliamentary level would l afford her “the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of Parliament, its proceedings and how we can work together to make St. Vincent and the Grenadines a better place for our people”.
She said that her inauguration would have been more gratifying if her relatives and there were there to witness it.
“… but the contingent circumstances of COVID-19 have militated against them,” she said, referring to the decision of the clerk to restrict access only to MPs and state media in light of the global pandemic.
Glasgow told Members of Parliament it is critically important that they understand “our role as representatives, or caretakers of our constituents.
“It means, therefore, that we should be accessible, relevant, strategic and realistic about the needs of our people. To do so effectively, we must confront the challenges of our emerging society.
“And although we represent our own constituents we must be cognisant of the need to stand united on matters of national interest, such as the COVID-19 because that has implications for all of us, as Vincentians.
“So there’s no need for divisiveness, but we should collaborate to ensure that we fight this successfully.
“Yes, we’ll have divergent views but when it comes to national issues that must be given pride of place, irrespective of our political preference. And I would have said the same thing as a committed citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, if the reins of power were on the other side.”
She said that lawmakers have to be conscious of the fact that when they speak, in the House of Assembly, “given the rate of communication, that people in the diaspora and at home, listen to what we have to see so much track as possible to be factual and do not misinform the people who listen, particularly our youth.
“We shall be a beacon to them so that they can listen and learn and make objective assessments,” Glasgow said.