JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The 2014/2015 session of Parliament began today (April 3), at Gordon House, with the traditional pomp and pageantry.
  • The Governor-General, on his arrival, inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force, after which he entered the chambers of the House.
  • The critical Bills to be brought is a National Disabilities Bill, which will provide for further protection and legal entrenchment of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The 2014/2015 session of Parliament began today (April 3), at Gordon House, 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.

The Governor-General, on his arrival, 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 Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, and Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson.

Specially invited guests, including Permanent Secretaries from the various Ministries, and members of the Diplomatic Corps, also entered the House to hear the Throne Speech.

Members of the Senate were the first to take their seats inside Gordon House, followed by the President of the Senate, Floyd Morris.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peart, then entered the chambers, followed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, and Members of Parliament also entered and took their seats.

The Throne Speech, delivered under the theme: ‘Going for Growth: Creating Opportunities’ outlined the priority programmes and policies to be pursued by the Government during the new fiscal year.

Some of the priority areas outlined for the 2014/15 financial year include: the implementation of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises policy; creating an enabling business environment; implementing renewable assets; diversification of the tourism market; job creation; reducing crime and violence; and social protection.

The Government will also pursue an active legislative agenda.

Among the critical Bills to be brought is a National Disabilities Bill, which will provide for further protection and legal entrenchment of the rights of persons with disabilities.

A Building Bill will also be brought to Parliament. This is aimed at improving the efficiency of the building approval process, and providing a framework for the effective management of the building industry.

Also, the Administrator General’s Act will be amended to address the challenges in the administration of multi-generational estates, and modernise the rules governing the probate of wills.

Legislation to provide the framework for securing the protection of workers will also be brought to the House. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Act will establish a joint Health and Safety Council to monitor the safety and well-being of workers.

Later in the afternoon the Lower House had its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, where the proposed budget for 2014/15 was tabled by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.