2017-18 Session of Parliament Underway

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (centre), examines the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force at the ceremonial opening of Parliament today (February 9).

Story Highlights

  • The 2017-18 session of Parliament got underway today (February 9) with the traditional pomp and pageantry.
  • The Throne Speech, delivered under the theme: ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’ outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the new fiscal year.
  • Some of the priority areas outlined for the 2017-18 legislative year include: crime reduction through greater investments in law enforcement activities; emphasis on the rule of law to secure communities; justice reform; tax reform; and reform of laws which protect women and children.

The 2017-18 session of Parliament got underway today (February 9) with the traditional pomp and pageantry.

It was highlighted by the delivery of the Throne Speech by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

The Governor-General, on his arrival, inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force, after which he entered the chambers of the House, accompanied by the Acting Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant, and Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade.

Specially invited guests, including Permanent Secretaries from the various Ministries, and members of the Diplomatic Corps, also entered the House to hear the Throne Speech.

Members of the Senate were the first to take their seats inside Gordon House, followed by the President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pearnel Charles, then entered the chambers, followed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and Members of Parliament.

The Throne Speech, delivered under the theme: ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’ outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the new fiscal year.

Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (right), presents the Throne Speech during the opening of the 2017-18 session of Parliament at Gordon House today (February 9). The Speech was delivered under the theme ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’. At left is the Governor- General’s Aide-de-Camp, Major Eldon Morgan.

Some of the priority areas outlined for the 2017-18 legislative year include: crime reduction through greater investments in law enforcement activities; emphasis on the rule of law to secure communities; justice reform; tax reform; and reform of laws which protect women and children.

Other focus areas include: public sector transformation and modernisation; privatisation of Government shares in State-run entities; development and implementation of a National Identification System; development of an integrated transport system; expansion of the school feeding programme; occupational safety and health; and strategic review of the National Housing Trust.

The Government will also implement a full legislative agenda for the new Parliamentary year.

Among the critical Bill is the tabling of a new Police Service Act to replace the Jamaica Constabulary Force Act that supports the modernisation and transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force into a modern intelligence-led police service that ensures citizen security, with stronger systems of administration, management and internal discipline.

Other legislation include: DNA Regulations which will be complementary to the DNA Act; the Micro Credit Act, which will increase the participation of data providers in the credit reporting system; and the Credit Reporting Act will be reviewed.

Later in the afternoon, the Lower House had its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, where the proposed budget for 2017-18 was tabled by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), speaks to Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, before the start of the 2017-18 opening of Parliament today (February 9). Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, delivered the Throne Speech under the theme: ‘A Firm Foundation for Prosperity’.

 

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