CONTRIBUTION TO THE 2007/2008 BUDGET DEBATE BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, MR. BRUCE GOLDING, MP, THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2007


The budget debate is traditionally the most significant event of the parliamentary calendar. This year’s debate has added significance. It marks the end of the Prime Minister’s first year in office and, therefore, part of our focus must be what difference has she made, what hope has she generated and what new direction has she charted to justify and secure fulfillment of that hope.
This debate has taken on even greater significance for in a short while the voters of Jamaica will have an opportunity to cast judgment not only on the leadership of the Prime Minister in her first year but on the performance of the present administration as it comes to the end of its term of office. And what cannot escape that judgment is the fact that it is the same set of people who have been in power for 18 years. The Prime Minister, herself, cannot escape this accounting; she cannot be tangential to this judgment..for, as I pointed out last year, she was there!
That 18 year occupation must be judged [and will be judged] in a particular context. There are persons who are now 18 and will be voting for the first time. They were not even born when the PNP came to office in February 1989. Indeed, some 900,000 Jamaicans – more than a third of the population – were born since the PNP came to office in 1989. And if we add those who were under 15 at that time and were, therefore, hardy politically aware, then the more than 1

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