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Jan 13, 2017

House meets with new Speaker in the chair

Laura Longsworth

The House of Representatives held its first sitting of the New Year in Belmopan today. The session continued through the afternoon with extensive debate on the amendment to the Referendum Act. We’ll have that coming up, but the first order of business was the installation of a new speaker. Nurse Laura Longsworth, president of the Belize Cancer Society, was sworn in as the new Speaker replacing Michael Peyrefitte, who has moved on to the Senate resulting from his appointment as Attorney General.  With Longsworth’s arrival, the leaders of both sides of the House expressed desire for a return to civility – a move that the new Speaker wholeheartedly approves and intends to enforce.


Laura Longsworth, Speaker of the House

“Honorable Members, I have received numerous congratulatory messages from women and men, across the political spectrum. One message that truly resonates with me is an encounter with an ordinary citizen of Belize, an older Creole woman, who stopped me in the aisle of the supermarket to inquire if I was the lady who would become Speaker of the House. Her message to me was, “Darling, I hope you can make them behave themselves. I feel really bad when I watch them on T.V. I always wonder why they have to go on like that.” Ironically, she captured the main theme of messages that were expressed via social media, broadcast media, and personally. Porter-Grady (2003) posits that chaos and the loss of certainty, provides the opportunity to let go of those things that are inherently changing and passing, which allows us to refocus on the journey and to hear the journey’s call to adapt and grow. Members of this Honorable House: chaos and uncertainty are a natural phenomenon in the conduct of business. Perhaps it is time to utilize… by being mindful of the opinions of ordinary people who depend on you, Honorable Members, for leadership. Chaos and the complexity of business in this Honorable House is expected. But it requires that members harmonize efforts to create better decorum in conducting business in the National Assembly.”


In her maiden address, Speaker Longsworth paid tribute to the nursing community, her own family and the late Senior Counsel Michael Young.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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