JIS News

The 2013/2014 session of Parliament began on Thursday, April 4, 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.

[Download the Governor General’s 2013 Throne Speech]

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, Rev. Stanley Redwood, and President of the Jamaica Council of Churches,the Most Reverend Donald J. Reece.

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

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

[Download the Governor General’s 2013 Throne Speech]

Some of the priority areas outlined for the 2013/14 financial year include: securing an Extended Fund Facility with the International Monetary Fund; creating an enabling environment to do business in Jamaica; diversification of the tourism market; job creation; boosting agricultural production thorough the development of Agro Parks; energy efficiency; reducing crime and violence; the economy and foreign policy.

The Government will also pursue an active legislative agenda for the 2013/2014 fiscal year. Some of the critical Bills include: an Amendment of the Road Traffic Act and Transport Authority Act, with the objective of ensuring that the gaps in the road traffic legislation affecting enforcement of road traffic laws are addressed; An Omnibus Tax Incentive Bill to establish a transparent and coherent regime to govern all tax incentives; and a Public Sector Procurement Bill to provide the framework for a Public Sector Procurement System, and legally separate the National Contracts Commission from the Office of the Contractor General.

Later in the afternoon the Lower House had its first official sitting for the new fiscal year, and the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure were tabled by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter