|The Earl of Essex, Prince Edward, and Speaker of the House, Michael Carrington, leaving the Srnate Chambers to commence a tour of Parliament's Museum and National Heroes Gallery. |
In much pomp and ceremony today, government rolled out the ‘red carpet' for the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Princess Sophie during a Joint Sitting of Parliament in the Senate Chambers.
During an address before the Earl and Countess and their entourage, parliamentarians and senators, Speaker of the House, Michael Carrington, said Barbados would, forever, be indebted to Her Majesty for providing "that powerful and necessary symbol of continuity and assurance by remaining as the Head of State".
He added: "Her [Queen Elizabeth's II] benevolent presence has given us the space and time to grow, not in revolutionary steps, but through sure and quiet progress. In the past 45 years, our democracy has flourished, our people have advanced and our institutions have grown stronger."
Reflecting on the significance of the signing of the 1652 Charter of Barbados, Mr. Carrington observed that securing the rights to self-rule, free trade, the right to property and the freedom from taxation without their consent through a general assembly, were at the core of the modern representative parliamentary democracy.
The Speaker pointed out that although some critics were skeptical about the island's capabilities to chart its own destiny in 1966, the architects of our Constitution were "sensitive to the anxieties of the people and conscious of the need to build on the foundations of the past. Thus, they sought to provide an environment of certainty and continuity, which would allow the new nation to develop in peace and grow in self-confidence".
Mr. Carrington acknowledged that while one cannot say what future constitutional requirements the country may require from government, he said the island would be forever indebted to Queen Elizabeth II.
"We are all convinced of one thing; that the deep and enduring commitment of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, to her loyal subjects, the people of Barbados...will always retain an enduring place in our hearts...," he underlined.
Meanwhile, Deputy President of the Senate, Kerry-ann Ifill, described Queen Elizabeth's II 60 years of unbroken reign as a remarkable achievement and disclosed that Barbadians of all ages held her in high esteem.
"She has devoted her entire life to the solemn duties which destiny has required of her and for steadfast dedication to the service of her people within Great Britain and throughout the Commonwealth," Ms. Ifill emphasised.
Acknowledging that the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen's reign came against a backdrop of uncertain economic circumstances, the Deputy President urged Barbadians to be guided by a spirit of resilience and faith as espoused in the Queen's Christmas Message last year.
In response, Prince Edward thanked government for the opportunity to represent the Queen at the historic Joint Sitting of Parliament and conveyed Her Majesty's delight in the country's development.
"Barbados and Barbadians hold a special place in Her Majesty's heart. She takes a keen interest in all that you do and is proud of your achievement, in particular, the progress Barbados has made in its 45 years as a sovereign state. Her affection towards you remains strong and constant as the day, 60 years ago, when she acceded to the Throne and pledged to dedicate her life to service of the people of her realms and territories," he added.
At the end of the historic sitting, the Earl, dapperly attired in a dark coloured suit and the Countess, resplendent in beige and gold dupioni silk sleeveless dress made by designer Maxmara with matching gold and tan accessories and accentuated by a chapeau designed by Jane Taylor, toured Parliament Museum along with Government officials.
At the end of the tour, they waved to a few supporters who lined the streets to get a glimpse of the royal party.