Both Houses of Parliament paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II today, September 15, ahead of her State funeral next Monday, September 19.
The Special Parliamentary Sitting saw the Lower House paying its respects to the country’s fallen Head of State in the morning, followed by an afternoon sitting of the Upper House, the Senate.
During the earlier session, Leader of the Opposition Jamale Pringle said it was fitting that September 15 – recognized as the “International Day of Democracy” – was being used to acknowledge the late Queen’s role in supporting the principles and practices of democracy, as well as its responsibilities.
He said the Queen had ruled with fairness and that her successor, His Majesty King Charles III, will have large shoes to fill.
Pringle also used the opportunity to express his condolences, and those of the United Progressive Party, to the Royal Family; the people of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth; and Governor-General Sir Rodney Williams.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the late Queen had been held in very high regard, even in countries that are not part of the British Empire.
He said the quality of her leadership had been second to none and she had been a well-respected figure worldwide.
In the meantime, Browne pledged Antigua and Barbuda’s continued allegiance to the Queen’s heir, King Charles III, based on the doctrine of the Constitution.
PM Browne is expected to join the Governor-General and his wife, along with other world leaders, at the Queen’s funeral service on Monday, September 19, at Westminster Abbey.
Meanwhile, the local uniformed services have agreed to hold a special service of worship on the morning of the funeral in honour of the late Queen.
“The service of worship and remembrance by the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda and the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, commencing at 11 a.m.,” this week’s Cabinet Notes say.
It is to be followed by a military parade and a general salute through the streets of St. John’s, passing Government House, where the Governor-General’s Deputy, Sir Clare Roberts, will take the salute outside the premises.