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Mister Speaker let me begin this afternoon by acknowledging my creator the Lord God Almighty, for this is the day that He hath made and we need to rejoice and be glad in it; and I am certainly glad to be alive to witness this day for many reasons; chief of which is to be the voice of the people of Western St. Mary in this Honourable House for the first time in my eighteen years of political sojourn.
Making all this possible with the help of the Almighty is the formidable team of my constituents especially my Councillors: Michael Belnavis, Doreen Hutchinson, Jason James, Murdel McKenzie and Bruce Farrell, who harboured no lesser aspirations for me than to see me stand here today. To Mrs. Hyacinth Knight, a former Member of Parliament, who stood with me and campaigned relentlessly, to her and her family, I am truly appreciative. I am indeed blessed.
Mr. Speaker, I also congratulate you on your election to the Chair and thank the staff of the House for their guidance and support.
To my esteemed colleagues in this House, our interaction over the last ten months has taught me much in the cut and thrust of our various debates on issues of national importance. I look forward to engaging in more of these spirited exchanges in the years to come.
Today marks a very significant milestone in my personal development and political career and I use it to extend special thanks to my family and friends for their unwavering support, advice, belief in me and commitment to the vision I share to serve this country at the highest level and in the best way I know how.
To my Director General Mr. Devon Rowe and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair-McCalla, the directors and staff of the Department of Local Government thanks for staying the course to see the reform process enter its most decisive phase – Time for Action.
To my Special Assistant – Mrs. Chloe HoSang, to Josselle Laing, Latoya McKoy, Maxine Riley and Secretary Keisha Pennant, thanks for being there for me while straddling and balancing the work of constituency and government.
Mr. Speaker, the vineyard has many workers at varying levels and all should be acknowledged accordingly. I therefore pay special thanks to all Mayors, Councillors and staff in the Local Authorities as well as the heads of agencies, chairpersons of the respective boards and members who have consented to serve under this local government portfolio.
Special mention must be made of my Leader and Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding for investing his confidence in me – if only for 2 years – by way of assigning me this portfolio.
Mr. Speaker, to my immediate family although not all are politically involved, I must acknowledge their support, and acknowledge the matriarch of the family, Aunt Joyce. Also my friend and brother Dwight Brady, who cut short his vacation in South Africa to be here today.
But Mr. Speaker, as grateful as I am today, I am saddened, sad, Sir, that my parents are not here today, to offer their support.
I know my father would be the proudest man if he were alive. But it is my mother most of all I know who would have wanted to be here. She has long dreamt this dream; she has been my rock, my greatest supporter and my best friend. Oh how I wish, she was here to witness her ‘wash belly’ addressing this Honourable House. Whether I did good or bad today, she would still be proud.
Mr. Speaker, I know that somehow in spirit they are here but I still miss them.
Mr. Speaker, nevertheless, I will soldier on. Again, I am indeed grateful to all as we continue to empower our citizens and deepen democracy and good governance at the local level through decisive action. To God be the glory great things He hath done.
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