Jamaica Gleaner / “The Speaker!” The emphatic pronouncement by Kevin Williams, marshal to the Houses of Parliament, on the arrival in the chamber of the referee of the Lower House, will proceed from his vocal chords for the final time today, as he moves on to new assignments.
Williams, who started his stint on December 4, 2011, received glowing tributes from members of the Upper House last Friday as he completed his duties in the Senate for the last time.
“I am humbled that the leaders of our nation would have been able to stand and make such declarations about the contribution that I have made,” Williams told The Gleaner in an interview.
The man who carries the Mace stamped his own style of marshalling the affairs of the legislature, gaining respect from members on both sides of the political divide.
He took on the task at a time when the post of marshal had been upgraded to include safety, security and emergency management.
“I got an opportunity to build the portfolio from scratch,” said Williams, noting that he was delighted to have been given that opportunity.
Asked about his greatest challenge while working in the nation’s Parliament, Williams said he was shell-shocked initially at the divergence in culture between the private sector and Government.
“Cultures don’t change overnight, it takes a little time, so sometimes you have to press forward to try and achieve certain things,” he said.
However, Williams said he was pleased to have been able to forge relationships in Parliament that would last for a lifetime.
When asked if he would miss his favourite declarations – “The Speaker! The President!” – Williams broke out into laughter.
“Today will be my final day to herald that out of my lips and it is a moment I may cherish for the rest of my life.”
Below are excerpts from tributes to the marshal to the Houses of Parliament:
– Tom Tavares-Finson, president of the Senate
“It is the nature of things that we improve ourselves, and I am sure that whatever course of action you take, you will know that we appreciate your service to the people of Jamaica through the Parliament.”
– Kamina Johnson Smith, leader of government business in the Senate
“We will miss you terribly, your professionalism, your efficiency and the great care and meticulousness that you apply to your job. The importance that you place on standards and maintaining standards is the type of approach that can only be recognised by elevation.”
– Senator Dr Floyd Morris, opposition senator
“The Marshall is an individual that has worked extremely close with me in the past couple of years in my capacity as senator and in my capacity as president and he has brought about a degree of professionalism to the office of marshal of the Parliament that is unprecedented.”