Former Speaker and now Governor-General-historic

By MyVue Staff Reporter

Wednesday, 1st February, 2023, (MyVue– Wednesday, 1st February, 2023, will be remembered as a signal moment for the advancement of women in St. Kitts & Nevis. It is the day on which political history was made. Marcella Liburd, a lawyer by profession, became the only person in the history of St. Kitts & Nevis, to have ever been appointed Governor General, and (in the past), Speaker of the National Assembly.

In any democratic form of government, there are three branches, The Legislature-(Members of Parliament), The Executive-(Cabinet of Ministers), and the Judiciary-(The Court).

Liburd is the only one, male or female, who has ever occupied two of the three branches in her 104 square-mile Federation of just over 54,000 people.

It was just after the stroke of midnight, on Wednesday when the new Governor General took the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance, registering her name as the fifth Governor General, following in the footsteps of Sir Tapley Seaton, Sir Edmund Lawrence, Dr. Sir Cuthberth Sebastian, (deceased), and the first holder of the post, the late, Sir Clement Arrindell.

She is also the third lawyer, (behind Arrindell and Seaton), to take residence at Government House.

In addition, she becomes the first former Minister of Government to be elevated to the governorship. She is, however, the second politician, (in addition to Sebastian who was a candidate for the Labour Party in East Basseterre, in the early 1980s), to be given the promotion to GG.

Another first in her career, was her appointment as Speaker of the National Assembly, in 2004, (until 2008).

However, Liburd was not the first female to be appointed as head of a Legislative Branch. That distinction was accorded to the late Ada Mae Edwards, in 1978, when she was appointed Speaker of the House of Assembly during the days of Statehood, (before independence).

Liburd was sworn in as Governor-General in an official ceremony presided over by the Resident High Court Judge, Tamara Gill, while head of the Executive Branch of Government, (Prime Minister, Dr. Terrence Drew), along with his fellow Cabinet members, looked on.

Prime Minister Dr. Terrence Drew, (far right), Speaker Lanein Blanchette, fourth from left and next to PM Drew. Also in the front row is former Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas (first from left), Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Geoffrey Hanley-third from left, with his wife, Mrs. Hanley, second from the left.

Also present was the current Speaker of the Parliament, Lanein Blanchette, the second female to hold that title. This means that two of the branches of government are now controlled by women.

GG Liburd signing instruments as resident Judge Tamara Gill looks on, with ADC of GG standing close

Following the ceremony, guests and all dignitaries were treated to a fireworks display to officially signal the start of the new Governor General’s tenure.

The government has also disclosed that a formal “installation ceremony” will be hosted at Government House, on Saturday, 4th February, 2023, to which the general public has been invited.

Photos: Courtesy St, Kitts & Nevis Government Information Service

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