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Story Highlights

  • Sixty-one of the 63 Members of Parliament (MPs), who won their seats in the February 25 General Election, were sworn in today (March 10) at the opening of the new Parliament at Gordon House.
  • Absent were MP for Southern St. Andrew, Dr. Omar Davies and MP for Southern St. James, Derrick Kellier.
  • MP for North Central Clarendon, Pearnel Charles Snr, was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives, while MP for St. Elizabeth South Eastern, Franklyn Witter, was selected as Deputy Speaker.

Sixty-one of the 63 Members of Parliament (MPs), who won their seats in the  February 25 General Election, were sworn in today (March 10) at the opening of the new Parliament at Gordon House.

Absent were MP for Southern St. Andrew, Dr. Omar Davies and MP for Southern St. James, Derrick Kellier.

MP for North Central Clarendon, Pearnel Charles Snr, was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives, while MP for St. Elizabeth South Eastern, Franklyn Witter, was selected as Deputy Speaker.

In his remarks, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, urged his fellow parliamentarians to make themselves accessible and uphold the  highest standard of public conduct.

“We can be forceful without being disruptive, we can be insightful without being insultive,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he is a “humble servant of the people and faithful steward of their affairs.”

Mr. Holness also congratulated Mr. Charles on his appointment as Speaker of the House.

“Your journey to this elevated place is an inspiring and epic one and we salute you. Yours is an awesome task, tremendous responsibilities rest upon your shoulders. We have every confidence that you will be judicious, firm, impartial and professional in presiding over the business of the House,” he stated.

For her part, Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, noted that MPs have a “duty to conduct ourselves in manner that will encourage more Jamaicans to participate in the electoral process.”

She also noted that the Opposition will not fail in performing their duty. “We will be strong, we will be vigilant, we will be firm,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The swearing-in of the MPs followed the installation of members of the Senate. Nineteen members of the 21-member Chamber  took the oath. Absent were Noel Sloley and Don Wehby.

Senator Tom Tavares-Finson was elected as President of the Senate, while Senator Aubyn Hill will serve as his Deputy.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator, Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, is the new Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, while Senator Mark Golding will serve as Leader of Opposition Business.

The new Senate President urged all members to ensure that their contributions are delivered in a manner that serve the country well.

“It is my intention that my tenure is marked by stability and constructive debate. To further facilitate useful debate I will be relaxing the rules which deal with the asking of questions,” Senator Tavares-Finson said.

Specially invited guests, such as members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as family members and well-wishers, also turned out in their numbers to observe the proceedings.