JIS News

For fiscal year 2010/11, the Government will give priority attention to the economy, crime, education and the infrastructure, while seeking to increase its support for the poor, protecting citizens’ rights and strengthening the role of the Houses of Parliament.
This was highlighted in the Throne Speech delivered by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at the State Opening of Parliament on
March 25, under the theme: ‘Fixing our problems… Positioning for growth’.
The Governor-General said that with the current fiscal constraints, priority in the allocation of government’s scarce resources will be given to advancing the Education Transformation Programme, undertaking critical road and water supply projects, improving public transportation and providing affordable housing solutions.
“As the economic climate improves, the government will be targeting strategic investments in critical areas, such as tourism, information and communication technology and logistics, which offer significant job-creating opportunities,” he noted.
The Governor-General also stated that discussions are being held with a view to having at least one of the country’s alumina plants re-opened this year.
Meanwhile, as part of measures to fight crime, he said that tough anti-gang legislation to strengthen the powers of the country’s law enforcement agencies will be introduced in Parliament. The Government will also be re-introducing the anti-crime Bills and will be asking Parliament to enact whistleblower legislation to encourage and protect those who can provide valuable information on criminals and wrongdoers.
In addition, efforts will be made to protect the rights of the citizens. For the new legislative year, the Government is aiming to pass the Charter of Rights Bill, along with the appropriate measure to address the issue of capital punishment. The Charter of Rights, which will strengthen and protect the rights of every citizen has been under deliberation for almost two decades.
On the issue of protecting children in state care, the Governor-General informed that new juvenile remand and correctional centres will be established, so that the practice of children being held in police lockups will cease and those ordered to correctional facilities will be properly accommodated and exposed to appropriate programmes to address their behavioural challenges and development needs.
The Governor-General said that preliminary work towards transformation of the public sector is well advanced and the rollout of the necessary restructuring will commence this year. This programme will involve the amalgamation of some government agencies and departments, winding up of some government entities, re-allocation of resources, realignment of authority and responsibility, consolidation of some services and outsourcing of others and improved performance accountability.
He stated that the Government intends to strengthen the social safety net by targeting additional resources to assist the most vulnerable in the society, with special emphasis on children of the poor.
Strengthening the role of Parliament is also high on the agenda of the Government, the Governor-General said.
“Toward the end of the last session, the House of Representatives adopted the report of the Standing Orders Committee, which recommended a number of amendments designed to strengthen the role of Parliament and render governance more transparent and accountable. The House should move swiftly to amend the Standing Orders accordingly and it is hoped that the Senate will do likewise,” he said.

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