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Story Highlights

  • The 2019/20 session of Parliament got under way today (February 14), 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 ‘In Partnership towards the New Prosperous Jamaica’.

The 2019/20 session of Parliament got under way yesterday (February 14), 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 ‘In Partnership towards the New Prosperous Jamaica’.

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 Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, 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.

For this fiscal year, the Government will continue on its multidimensional path of increasing the safety and security of Jamaicans. In furtherance of this, the Government has allocated significant capital expenditure for National Security and Defence.

In addition, new legislation and/or amendments to existing legislation, will be undertaken. Among these include the Police Act, which will provide for the modernisation and transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force; and the National Security Council Act, which will introduce legislation to provide for the establishment in law of the National Security Council.

Also, the Government will undertake a comprehensive multi-agency national survey of squatter settlements, to accurately ascertain the extent of squatting in the country.

A new Social Housing Programme (SHP) is to be unveiled, which will see the provision of indigent housing, relocation of vulnerable communities and the upgrading of tenements or ‘Big Yards’.

The National Housing Trust (NHT), will also be increasing its thrust to make home ownership a reality for more Jamaicans in 2019/20 and beyond.

Focus will also be placed on completing all the major infrastructure legacy projects under way in Kingston, St. Catherine and Westmoreland.

In addition, the Administration will be embarking on major roadworks in the eastern section of the country to include St. Thomas and Portland as well as to continue the major activities linking Clarendon to Manchester via the east-west toll road.

Later in the afternoon, the Lower House had its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, where the proposed Budget for 2019/2020 was tabled by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.