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Senate (2)  

The Senate is comprised of 11 members appointed by His Excellency the Governor.  Five members of Senate are appointed on the recommendation of the Premier and represent the governing party.   Three members are appointed on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition and represent the official opposition party.  And the three remaining Senators are appointed as Independents.   A President and a Vice-President are elected by the full Senate from among the Independent Senators.

The Senate Chambers (2)  

When Parliament is in session, the Senate meets at 10.00 a.m. each Wednesday to discuss matters sent forward by the House of Assembly. The gallery to the left of the main entrance is for the use of the public. To the right, there is a small glass‑topped table. The book inside bears the signature of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who was present for the convening of Parliament on November 2, 1990.

 

Beyond, on top of the bookshelves, is a long glass case, which contains The Black Rod. This is the emblem of office carried by a senior Police Officer who, when the Governor is about to open Parliament following a General Election or a seasonal Recess, summons the elected representatives from the House of Assembly and leads them in procession to the Senate Chamber.

 

The Black Rod in the case was fashioned by the Crown Jewellers and is topped with a silver Coat of Arms and tipped with an inset Bermuda crown piece. It was presented to the Government in 1964 by Mr. B.C.C. Outerbridge who gave many years of service to Bermuda, in the House of Assembly both as a member and as Deputy Speaker, and subsequently in the Senate ‑ then known as the Legislative Council.

 

The portraits above the Black Rod are of former Senate Presidents:

 

Senator the Hon. Albert Jackson, CBE, JP 1987‑ 1998

The Hon. Sir George Ratteray, Kt., CBE 1969‑ 1980

Senator the Hon. H.E. Richardson, CBE, JP 1980‑1987

 

The portraits on the northern wall of the Chamber are of King George V and Queen Mary, the grandparents of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and are from originals at Windsor Castle. The two velvet covered beneath the portraits were used by Sir J. Tronnsell Gilbert, President of the Legislative Council, and Lady Gilbert when they attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953.

 

Between the two portraits is the Royal Coat of Arms and beneath this is the dais from which the Governor, when opening Parliament, delivers the Throne Speech setting out the Government’s programme for the next Session of the Legislature.

 

The chair on the dais, now used as the Throne, has an interesting history: it was made of Bermuda cedar for one of Bermuda’s early Governors and bears on its back a carved inscription which reads – “Cap. Iosias Forstor Esv. Governor of the Sumer Islands Ano  do 1642”.

 

In 1897, Josias Foster’s chair was discovered in the Island of St Croix in the West Indies, having been taken there by his descendants in 1800. The chair was duly purchased from the family and on return to Bermuda was installed in its current place of distinction.

 

The original circular table around which Bermuda’s Senators deliberate, has also served many and varied international gatherings. The “Three Power Conference” took place in Bermuda in December 1953, when President Eisenhower of the United States met with Sir Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Monsieur Joseph Laniel of France.

 

Again in 1957, President Eisenhower was in Bermuda, this time to meet Primer Minister Harold Macmillan of Great Britain; and in 1961 Mr. Macmillan met with President Kennedy of the United States. On each of these occasions the table has been dismantled and removed to another, larger location.

 

The twelve armchairs in use with the table were obtained by the Hon. Robert Kennedy, the Colonial Secretary of the day who, in 1841, wrote from abroad to his deputy Charles Fozard: “I have selected and ordered a dozen very handsome chairs for the Council Room. They are elbow chairs of a very suitable pattern .... I will pay the cost out of the balance of the Powder Fund money in my hands, which is, I believe, about one hundred pounds”.

 

The chair at the northern side of the table with the slightly higher back, was bought in 1982 for the use of the President of the Senate.

 

Two signed lithographs on the southern wall 0f the Chamber show Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and were presented by their son Prince Alfred, when he visited Bermuda in 1861. The lithographs were restored at the British Museum, through the interest of Mrs. Joyce Hall MBE in 1982.