Two new females joined the Federal Parliament of St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, during its Ceremonial Opening held at the St Kitts Marriott Resort. At the session, the Honourable Lanien Blanchette was elected Speaker of the National Assembly while the Honourable Latoya Jones was elected Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
The new additions bring the total number of female federal parliamentarians to five, the most ever in the history of the twin-island Federation. The other female MPs are the Honourable Minister Marsha Henderson, and the Honourable Senators Dr. Joyelle Clarke and Isalean Phillip. Governor General’s Deputy, Her Excellency Marcella A. Liburd, highlighted this achievement as she delivered the Throne Speech during the Sitting.
“Our Government has already signalled, by its appointments made since taking office, its intension to position more young people and women at the leadership table,” Her Excellency Liburd said. “Our Government is the youngest government in the history of our nation and has already created history of its own with three (3) female ministers in the Cabinet for the first time. And now today, with both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker being women we are, for the first time in our history, witnessing the most women ever in our parliament. We say congratulations to our young people and our women” she said adding “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
Speaker Blanchette also shared similar sentiments noting that gender equality is an issue that has generated much discussion and action across the world.
“I am delighted to see the progress that we as a country have made in this regard. When we empower women as leaders and decision-makers, the community and the economy benefit,” the Honourable Blanchette stated. “Having female leaders in positions of influence allows them to serve as role models, which is not only critical to the career advancement of women but stands to generate broader societal impacts on pay equity, changing working place policies in ways that benefit both men and women, and attracting a more diverse workforce. May we continue to ensure that women have a seat at the table.”
In September, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, outlined his commitment to gender equality during his address at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He highlighted several initiatives and policies taken by his government and stressed “We are confident that our active inclusion of women and youth in public life through their appointment in our parliament, diplomatic and senior civil service [posts] and other decision-making fora will bear much fruit.”