The 2008/09 State Opening of Parliament took place at Gordon House, today (March 27), with much pomp and ceremony, highlighted by the delivery of the Throne Speech by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall.
From as early as 10:00 a.m., a large crowd of well-wishers lined Duke Street to view the proceedings, and offered sporadic cheers at the arrival of the Guard of Honour, led by the Jamaica Military Band in full regalia.
Commissioner of Police, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin came soon after, followed by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders.
Members of the Senate then arrived and took their places in the chamber, followed by Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition members of the House. They were followed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding and members of the House on the Government side.
Wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Rheima Hall arrived and was escorted into the chamber by the Commissioner of Police.
On his arrival, the Governor-General was met by the Chief of Staff, after which he proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour.
The Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke then met the Governor-General at the foot of the stairs at Gordon House, where she accompanied him to the entrance of the Chambers to a fanfare of trumpets.
Sir Kenneth then proceeded to read the Throne Speech, which outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the new fiscal year.
In the afternoon, the House of Representatives convened for its first official sitting for the new fiscal year. This was marked by the tabling of the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw.