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St. Vincent & Grenadines: First female Speaker says women not equal to weakness

The first female Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Monday, put her marker down as she urged MPs not to equate “a particular gender” with weakness.

Rochelle Forde, a lawyer and former senator and deputy speaker, was elected speaker of the national assembly in a vote as Parliament convened after the Nov. 5 general elections.

Forde was nominated by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and defeated the opposition’s nominee, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, by 14 votes to eight.

Ashelle Morgan, a lawyer and government senator, who Gonsalves nominated as deputy speaker, was confirmed in that post, after the opposition did not put forward a nominee.

In her first comments as speaker, Forde thanked the Lord for “His continued blessings and mercies on us all as a nation” and asked His “unending guidance and grace throughout the life of this Parliament”.

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