The House of Representative held its first  Meeting on January 13, for the new year 2017, and at its commencement a new Speaker of the House was Appointed, The Honourable Laura Tucker-Longsworth. The appointment of a female Speaker marks a historical event for the United Democratic Party because Mrs. Laura is the third female Speaker to be appointed in the House of Representative and also its the first time in the United Democratic Party’s history that a female presides over the House while they are in power.

 The meeting began at 10:16 A.M. in the Chamber of the National Assembly Building. As mentioned above, first on the agenda was the Election of a Speaker followed by her remarkable statement. (See statement below)

Laura Tucker-Longsworth OBE. MSN. RN.

National Assembly of Belize

Inaugural Remarks

January 13, 2017.


Honorable Members of this Honorable House, it is my distinct honor and privilege to address you in the capacity of Madam Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize. I stand before you as the first woman Speaker nominated by the sitting Government and the third woman who has been appointed Speaker in the history of Belize. An important historical milestone is also being achieved, as I am the first Nurse to serve in the Legislature as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Rt. Honorable Prime Minister should know that with my nomination he is honoring the memory of his great-grandaunt Adeline Lindo Wright who was one of the first Nurses to receive formal nursing education in Belize in the year 1894.


Although the offer of nomination was totally unexpected and not visible on any of my horizons, it may be that I have been preparing for such a role all my life. In my world of transformational leadership I did not envision myself in active politics nor in a Leadership position in the National Assembly. I approached the decision-making process on the nomination as I would in my professional life, seeking evidence to support an informed decision. I was confronted with numerous reasons for not accepting the nomination of SPEAKER; but those reasons receded in order of importance when compared to the rare opportunity to represent women at this high level and my country as SPEAKER in the House of Representatives.


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 a supermarket to inquire if I was the lady who would become the 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 TV. 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 provide an 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 lessons learnt from the experience of chaos and uncertainty, 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 their efforts to create better decorum in conducting business in this National Assembly.


In reviewing the Belize Constitution Chapter 4, and the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, I was pleased to learn that there are clear detailed rules to guide House proceedings. I noted with interest that Part X (page 149) of the Constitution provides a definition of the word “SESSION.” Standing Orders 43 and 44 clearly outline the mandated conduct of Members of the House of Representatives. These topics continue to dominate public discourse. It is therefore important for the media, the general public, educational institutions and every Belizean, to become acquainted with these regulations, as there is clearly a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding of House rules.  Analysis of House proceedings should be done in tandem with the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives and the Belize Constitution.


Resolutions coming out of the Commonwealth’s Women Forum (Malta, 2015) include calls for states to improve opportunities for women to actively participate in politics at all levels. There is also a call for States to advocate for the role of women in political positions as key agents for responsive governments that promote sustainability. Honorable Members, although we are lagging behind in this regard, my appointment as SPEAKER of the House signals to the world that Belize is on the move to create a balanced representation of women and men so that the decisions are made to better represent the interests of society.


Today, I am standing on the foundation created for me by my parents Clive and Veronica Tucker and my siblings; my husband of 46 years – Stanley D. Longsworth and our three adult children, seven grandchildren and a great granddaughter. I also stand on the shoulders of legendary Nurses like Hazel Wright the first Belizean Chief Nursing Officer, Delsyia Goff, Audrey Courtenay, Mavis Nunez, Marie Christie, Penelope Cassasola and Julia Castillo. As I proceed with my work in this Honorable House, I am surrounded by a strong group of friends who also nurture and serve the community. In accepting this position, I am honoring by recently deceased friend-Michael Clarence Young Senior Counsel, who would have been happy with my decision.


I extend my sincere gratitude to the Rt. Honorable Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet for my nomination. I also thank the Honorable Leader of the Opposition and elected members for their support. I am grateful to all Honorable Members for affording me the opportunity to serve as SPEAKER of this Honorable House. It is with humility that I accept the position of Speaker and pledge to serve in a just and fair manner. In so doing, I continue my lifelong service to the people of Belize. Honorable Members of the House of Representatives, I thank you!




Laura Tucker-Longsworth OBE. MSN. RN.

Speaker of the House

January 13, 2017.




Hermann, E.(1985). Origins of Tomorrow. A History of Belizean Nursing Education


Portor-O’Grady, T. Malloch, K. (2003). Quantum Leadership, A Textbook of  New Leadership


Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, National Assembly of Belize


The Belize Constitution Chapter 4.


After the Appointment and Statement of the Speaker, a Resolution  was moved by the Honourable Michael Finnegan, that the Honourable Julius Espat, Member for Cayo South, be reinstated to his parliamentary duties and attend the next Meeting of the House of Representative, followed by  several questions asked to Ministers.

*From the  days Agenda, there was 1 Motion that was introduced and passed.


  1. Government of the Republic of  China (Taiwan) US$25,000,000 Loan Motion, 2017.

As well, 6 Bills  were introduced. They are:


  1. International Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  2. Forests (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  3. Land Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  4. Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  5. Registered Land (Amendment) Bill, 2017; and
  6. National Lands (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

At the end, a total of 8 Bills passed the House pending approval of the Senate. They are:


  1. Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
  2. Private Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
  3. Referendum (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
  4. Non-Governmental Organisations (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
  5. Land Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  6. Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
  7. Registered Land (Amendment) Bill, 2017; and
  8. National Lands (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Many Members had concerns and issues on the Referendum (Amendment) Bill, 2016; therefore at the end  a division was called whereby it resulted with 16 in favor, 9 were against and 5 absent.

Absent at the Meeting were the Honourables Gaspar Vega and Julius Espat.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:52 P.M.