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The 2006/07 Parliamentary Year was ushered in today (April 12), with much ceremony and fanfare, highlighted by the delivery of the Throne Speech by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall.
It was also a history making event, with the first female Prime Minister of the country leading Government members into the House.
Sporadic cheers from party supporters who occupied opposite ends of Duke Street on which the Parliamentary building is located, were the precursor to the arrival of the Guard of Honour, led by members of the Jamaica Military Band, at 10:30 a.m.
Subsequently, Police Commissioner, Lucius Thomas arrived, closely followed by Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin.The expectant buzz heightened when Opposition members, including Senators, made their way into the House, led by Opposition Leader, Bruce Golding.
Unmatched shouts of approval erupted when Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller arrived and proceeded to greet children and adults before entering the House with Government members, including Senators.
The Prime Minister, resplendent in white, strode towards Gordon House flanked by Education and Youth Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson; Agriculture and Land Minister, Roger Clarke and National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips.
The timing of the arrivals continued seamlessly, with Her Excellency the Most Honiurable Rheima Hall, wife of the Governor-General, arriving at precisely 10:48 a.m. She was escorted into the House by Commissioner Thomas.
A small procession of mounted guards heralded the arrival of the Governor-General, His Excellency Professor Kenneth Hall, who was met by Rear Admiral Lewin.
The Governor-General then inspected the Guard of Honour before being escorted into the House by the Chief of Staff, where he read the Throne Speech, which outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the new fiscal year.Members of the Diplomatic Corps, state officials, officers of the JDF and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and business and public sector executives were in attendance.
Later in the afternoon, the House convened its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, marked by the tabling of the 2006/07 Estimates of Expenditure by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies.