Grenada: Dessima M Williams, Former Ambassador, elected as President of Senate
Grenada: Dessima M Williams, Former Ambassador, elected as President of Senate

Grenada: The Government of Grenada welcomes the appointment of a former ambassador, Dessima M Williams, as President of the Parliament’s Upper House, the Senate. Williams was elected to the post during the First Sitting of the Eleventh Parliament on August 31, 2022.

“Dessima Williams has served Grenada with distinction, exhibiting marked leadership and dedication, particularly in the areas of climate change resilience and the sustainable development of small island states,” Prime Minister the Honourable Dickon Mitchell said, highlighting the former ambassador’s extensive experience as a diplomat and negotiator.

“Williams’ significant contributions, not only on the international stage but also to social and rural development in Grenada, serve as a reflection of women’s important role in nation building.”

Dessima Williams was appointed Grenada’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Nations in 2009. She served in this capacity for over four years, three concurrently as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

Prior to this, in the 1980s, Williams served as representative to the Organization of American States of Grenada, Deputy Governor to the World Bank and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Inter-American Commission of Women.

Williams is the fourth woman to serve in the role of President of the Senate, following Senator Joan Purcell (2008-2013), Senator Leslie-Ann Seon (2004-2006), and Senator Margaret Neckles (1990-1995).

“It is an honour and sought of a challenge to serve as a woman, standing on the shoulders of women before me,” Williams said. “Access to state power by women must signal a commitment to intentionally increasing the numbers and impact of Grenada’s women in decision-making, as well as enabling women and men the opportunity to bring about positive change for society.”

Williams has penned publications that include “Bringing More Women into Leadership (2000) and “Women in Politics in Latin America and the Caribbean” (2005); and has served as a Special Advisor and Consultant on various United Nations initiatives that cover the Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change and Gender Matters.

The Grenada Education and Development Programme 1996 was established by her, which supports Grenada’s students as emerging leaders.

Parliament consists of the Queen and is represented by the Governor General, the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House).

The Senate consists of thirteen (13) Members. The Senate must pass all bills before they can become law and the Senate has the constitutional right to reject any bill as often as it sees fit.

The Senate can also amend any bill, although it cannot initiate or increase the amount of any bill dealing with taxation or expenditure. The Presiding Officer of the Senate is the President.