The Ceremonial Opening of Parliament

Photo: JIS Photographer In this file photo, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (4th right) along with wife and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, Juliet Holness (3rd right), lead Government Ministers into Gordon House at the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament on April 14, 2016. From left are: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte; Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Derrick Smith; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange; and Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

To mark the start of the new fiscal/parliamentary year, the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament takes place at Gordon House.

This tradition began in 1962, at the first opening of Parliament for newly independent Jamaica

The ceremonial opening of Parliament entails many intricate details executed to perfection.

Some of these include:
• Over 200 military personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) form the Guard of Honour and street liners.
• The arrival of Government officials following the Order of Precedence.
• Mounted escorts for the Governor-General’s arrival.
• Royal salutes and the Governor-General’s inspection of the Guard of Honour.

Traditionally, many persons, from all sectors of Jamaica, gather along Duke Street in Kingston to witness the occasion. The event is attended by members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, members of the Judiciary, high ranking officials and dignitaries and members of the public.

After the parade, the dignitaries and other specially invited guests gather in Gordon House to listen to the Throne Speech which is delivered by the Governor-General. The Throne Speech outlines the plans and intentions of Government for the year ahead.

The Throne speech must be delivered by the reigning monarch or the representative in the country. The conclusion of the speech marks the end of the ceremony.

Watch the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament on February 09, 2017 on the website of the Jamaica Information Service (www.jis.gov.jm).

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