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New President calls on MPs to be decent and respectful in their interactions in the Nevis Island Assembly

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NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 20, 2023)- President of the Nevis Island Assembly, Hon. Michelle Jan Slack has advised parliamentarians that she expects them to maintain decency and respect, and conduct themselves in a fit and proper manner when engaging each other in the Honourable House.

Hon. Slack, LL.B (Hons), LL.M (Dist), a practicing attorney in a private law firm on Nevis, was elected to preside over the Assembly during the opening session of the new parliamentary term on January 19, 2023. Delivering remarks, she outlined her expectations as to the conduct of Members of Parliament on the Government and Opposition benches during debate proceedings.

“My role here is to ensure that the rules to govern these proceedings as set out in the National Assembly Elections Act and Scheduled Standing Orders are observed so that order, respect for each other and the due seriousness which ought to attend the matters we are dealing with here are maintained.

“To this end…I am prepared to exercise the powers conferred on the President of this Assembly, in every situation that warrants it, equally, impartially, on this side and that, without fear or favor, affection or ill will.” She noted that it is understood there would be the traditional light banter between opposing Members on occasion and once the repartee remains respectful, “there should be no issue”.

“With that being said, I anticipate that our future sittings will be done with decency; that our submissions will be substantive submissions and not personal attacks, and that we would maintain a standard of respect for each other and carry out our various roles according to the governing legislation and reflective of our own personal standards.”

The President pointed out that parliamentary debate proceedings constitute an integral part of the law-making process and therefore is to be considered serious business by all Members.

She encouraged them to periodically study the various pieces of legislation governing the August body to ensure they are reasonably au fait with the rules and regulations governing the Assembly proceedings.

Hon. Slack took the opportunity to thank her predecessor Hon. Farrell Smithen, who served in the role from March 2013, for his positive influence on her and others during their time as Youth Parliamentarians. She also thanked the Members of the Assembly, loved ones, other well-wishers, and colleagues for their support as she assumes this important responsibility.

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