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Rochell Forde

House Speaker Rochelle Forde speaking at the special sitting of Parliament on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

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A committee has been appointed to document the history of the Parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, House Speaker Rochelle Forde has announced.

She made the announcement on Thursday during the final sitting of the legislature in the building in Kingstown that was built 200 years ago as home of the national assembly.

“Honourable Members, as we sit in this house assembled, the atmosphere is alive with emotions of nostalgia, of pride, of the ending of an era and the renewed hope for the future of our beloved St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Forde said at the end of a session in which lawmakers reflected on the history and significance of the building, which is indeed of repair.

“Today, in this house, we are privileged to have in one moment in time, former members, present members and there is a quiet confidence that future members of this house are either here or viewing these proceedings,” Forde said.

“This building, which I am advised is over 200 years old, carries in these hallowed parliamentary walls a most significant part of the history of our legislature,” she said.

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The speaker said that while the Hansards have captured debates, the absence of videographic records of the “rich, charismatic oftentimes flamboyant personalities of the men and women who were courageous enough to serve and build our country in decades past may, unfortunately, with the passage of time, and the fading of human recollection, simply disappear”. 

She said the chamber has been “the seed from which much pioneering legislation signal in the dawn of important milestones for this nation would have been passed. 

“But there is no one or series of documents from which this information can be readily and easily accessible. While we will not be able to capture memories lost, I am pleased to announce the names of the members of the recently appointed parliamentary publication committee, who will commence the herculean task of documenting the multifaceted history of the Parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Forde said.

The member of the committed are historian Adrian Fraser, former MP and lawyer, Rene Baptiste, lawyer playwright and newspaper columnist Cecil blazer Williams, trade unionist Joseph “Burns” Bonadie, newspaper editor Clare Keizer and Michelle King-Campbell, clerk and the Speaker of the House