Independent Senator defends her impartiality

Independent Senator, Bakesha Francis-James (third from right) shares a photo opportunity with her immediate family and Governor General Sir Rodney Williams (file photo)

Independent Senator Bakesha Francis-James said that her affiliation with the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) will in no way influence her decisions or stance in the Upper House.

She declared her position during an interview on OBSERVER AM yesterday.

“People [who] know me, know that I am a very fair person even if it comes to my children. If I have to stand firm and vote against my party because this is the right way to go, that is what I am going to do.

“I was appointed by the governor general. I am there to represent him in Parliament. I was also a women’s rights activist. Even if I am the chairperson of the women’s action group and I have to vote against my party, this is the way I am going to go,” Francis-James said.

The independent senator received her instruments of appointment on March 26th and took the oath of office that same day. She replaces former civil servant Hendren Parker.

The newly-appointed senator said that she is no stranger to criticism and welcomes the feedback from members of the public, good or bad.

“I am approachable. You can come up to me and say whether or not you were pleased with what I did. I will take the good out of it and throw away the bad. I am depending on everybody to tell me if I go wrong,” the independent senator said.

The new senator, who is also a member of Women Against Rape, or (WAR), had vowed to use her new post in the Upper House to advocate for women and the youth.

On several occasions in the past, Senators who did not take their party’s side on major Bills, have been removed by the party leaders. In this case though, there’s no known precedent where a senator appointed by a Governor General was removed for not backing a particular Bill.

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