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Back Row Left to Right: Mrs. Berna Cummins, MBE (MLA 1992-1996); Ms. Barbara Conolly, NP, JP, MP; Hon. Sabrina Turner, MP; the Speaker, Hon. Sir Alden McLaughlin, KCMG, MBE, KC, JP, MP; Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, MP; Mrs. Zena Merren-Chin (Clerk & Chief Officer); Mrs. Patricia Priestley (Asst. Clerk).
Front Row Left to Right: The Premier, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, JP, MP; Ms. Tara Rivers (MP 2013-2021); Hon. Mary J. Lawrence, MBE, (Hon) LL.D, JP (Speaker, 2009-2013); Mrs. Daphne Orrett (MLA 1984-1988); and Ms. Lucille Seymour, BEM, MBE, JP (MLA 2005-2009).

On March 20th, 2024, the 3rd Annual Women of Parliament Luncheon was held at the House of
Parliament, bringing together esteemed former and current female Parliamentarians, along with
current and former Clerks, to celebrate the achievements, leadership, and empowerment of
women in politics.

Hosted by the Speaker, Hon. Sir Alden McLaughlin, KCMG, MBE, KC, JP, MP, the luncheon
provided a platform for dialogue, networking, and recognition of the significant contributions
made by women in shaping legislative agendas and driving positive change within their
communities and beyond.

Among the distinguished guests were all current female Members of Parliament, including the
Premier, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, JP, MP, whose presence as the longest serving Member
and as Premier underscored the ongoing dedication to championing women’s rights and
promoting inclusive decision-making processes within the political sphere. The Minister for
Sustainability & Climate Resiliency, Hon. Katherine Ebanks-Wilks, MP, was joined by Hon. Sabrina
Turner, MP, Minister for Health & Wellness and Home Affairs, and by Ms. Barbara Conolly, NP,
JP, MP, of the Opposition. Current Deputy Speaker, Hon. Heather Bodden, OCI, Cert. Hon., JP,
MP, was on official travel.

“Inspired by my lady colleagues and I being the leader of the Cayman Islands Government as a
woman is an honour, not just for myself, but for the women who bravely fought for our
democratic rights, ” said Hon. O’Connor-Connolly. “It is my hope that more Caymanian women
will be inspired by myself, and my fellow female colleagues, to attain whatever goals they have

Much as it has done in its previous iteration with the former Speaker, Hon. Ebanks-Wilks, the
event emphasised the importance of gender equality and the need for increased representation
of women in the legislature. The event also served to invite attendees to reflect on the current
environment for women in politics, to hear from each other about the challenges they have
faced, and to honour the trailblazing women who have broken barriers in politics.

Mrs. Zena Merren-Chin, Clerk and Chief Officer of the Parliament, shared the intention of the
annual luncheon: “By coming together to celebrate our achievements and confront the
challenges ahead, we reaffirm our commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society
for future generations.”

Former Parliamentarians in attendance included the former Speaker, Hon. Mary J. Lawrence, and
former Members, Ms. Tara Rivers, Ms. Lucille Seymour, Mrs. Berna Cummins, and Ms. Daphne
Orrett. Mrs. Merren-Chin, who became the first Chief Officer of the Parliament in 2020, was
joined by Mrs. Patricia Priestley, Assistant Clerk (who served as Acting Deputy Clerk from 2021 to

The continued success of the Women of Parliament Luncheon underscores the growing
momentum behind efforts to empower women in politics, understand the challenges female
politicians face today, and to pave the way for a more representative and inclusive democratic process.


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