New Fiscal Year Begins With Throne Speech

Story Highlights

  • The 2018/19 session of Parliament got under way today (February 15) with the traditional pomp and pageantry.
  • His address outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government in the new fiscal year, which begins on April 1. It was delivered under the theme ‘Continuing on the Path to Prosperity’.
  • In attendance were invited guests, including permanent secretaries from the various ministries, and members of the diplomatic corps.

The 2018/19 session of Parliament got under way today (February 15) with the traditional pomp and pageantry.

It was highlighted by the delivery of the Throne Speech by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

His address outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government in the new fiscal year, which begins on April 1. It was delivered under the theme ‘Continuing on the Path to Prosperity’.

On his arrival, the Governor-General inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force, after which he entered the chambers of the House, accompanied by the Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake, and Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Rocky Meade.

In attendance were invited guests, including permanent secretaries from the various ministries, and members of the diplomatic corps.

Members of the Senate were the first to take their seats inside Gordon House, followed by the President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pearnel Charles Sr., then entered the chambers, followed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips; and members of Parliament.

Some of the priority areas outlined for the 2018/19 legislative year include the strengthening of laws to improve crime-fighting efforts; tabling of the National Identification and Registration Authority Regulations; justice reform; and increased participation in initiatives, such as the Work to Learn, Earn, Give and Save (LEGS) programme and the Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industries (YEDAI)/Housing, Opportunity, Production, Employment (HOPE) Project.

Other focus areas include public sector transformation and modernisation; continuation of the Jamaica Moves Campaign; creation of more housing solutions through the National Housing Trust; and the tabling of the Sexual Harassment Bill, which seeks to protect all women and men from unwanted sexual advances.

The Government will also implement a full legislative agenda for the new parliamentary year.

To this end, the Police Service Act, which will replace the Constabulary Force Act to provide for the modernisation and transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force into a contemporary, intelligence-led police service that ensures citizen security, with stronger systems of administration, management and internal discipline, is to be tabled.

Other legislation to be tabled and passed in both Houses of Parliament include The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act (POCA), the Tourism Workers Pension Bill and Regulations, National Solid Waste Management (Disposal of Solid Waste) Regulations, and the Data Protection Act.

Later in the afternoon, the Lower House had its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, where the proposed Budget for 2018/19 was tabled by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

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