The Convening of Parliament

Section 49 of Bermuda's Constitution states that the Governor, acting in accordance with the advice of the Premier, may at any time, by way of a proclamation in the Official Gazette, prorogue or dissolve the Legislature. The recall of Parliament usually takes place after the summer recess, but if the dissolution occurs in anticipation of a general election, the election will take place within three months of the dissolution date and the convening of the newly - elected Parliament normally occurs shortly afterwards.

On the day when Parliament is convened, both Houses assemble in their respective chambers, and if the ceremony takes place following a general election, the Presiding Officers of both chambers, are voted in by their peers and all parliamentarians take two oaths to Her Majesty the Queen. The arrival of the Governor at the Cabinet Office triggers a sequence of events which leads to the official opening ceremony.

The first part of the Convening of Parliament, involves the Black Rod, acting under the instruction from the Governor, marching to the House of Assembly to invite members to attend the convening ceremony. He then leads the procession (made up of the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Clerk to the Legislature, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, the Government and Opposition Leader and the remaining members of both parties) to the Cabinet grounds. Upon arrival, the Government Leader presents the Governor with a copy of the Throne Speech, which outlines Government's programme for the forthcoming year. After the Governor delivers the Throne Speech, the elected Members of Parliament adjourn to the House of Assembly and the Senators to the Senate Chamber.

Prior to 1999, the convening ceremony took place in the Senate.  Since then, the proceedings, weather permitting, were held on the grounds of the Cabinet Building, a sensible alternative which allows the public to witness the event.

Following a general election, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate are sworn in by Governor before the delivery of the Throne Speech.

Debate on the Throne Speech takes place during the next meeting of the House of Assembly, after which it is dealt with at the Senate level. At both levels, the Leader of the Opposition responds to the Government's Throne Speech, which triggers a lengthy debate by their parliamentary colleagues. At the end of the debate the Premier and the Government Leader in the Senate end the proceedings by responding to the issues and comments raised during the debate and move that a message be sent to the Governor, thanking him for delivering the speech on behalf of the Government.