Peter Bunting was sworn in to the Upper House on Friday (December 18), to complete the slate of eight Opposition Senators.
Senator Bunting, who will become the new Leader of Opposition Business, was welcomed by his colleagues after taking the Oath of Allegiance during the brief ceremony held at the start of the sitting of the Upper House.
President of the Senate, Tom Taveres-Finson, who led the welcome, said he had the pleasure of working with Mr. Bunting at the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) for seven years.
“I am sure that the application that he demonstrated there will augur well for the rigorous legislative agenda that we face in this Senate in the year 2021,” he said.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, wished Mr. Bunting well “in this new phase of your political participation”.
“We welcome you and we trust that the positive and collaborative relations, which we have enjoyed with Senator (Donna Scott-) Mottley in our preparations and arrangements for our sittings will, of course, continue with you and that the Senate will continue to be the place of good repute that it has always been,” she said.
For her part, Senator Scott-Mottley, who previously served as Leader of Opposition Business, said that Senator Bunting is taking on a very important role for which he is well-prepared, having served as Commissioner at the ECJ, General Secretary for the People’s National Party and as the fifth Minister of National Security for Jamaica.
“He has distinguished himself in Parliament with his contributions, and even though the Senate is a slightly different setting and slightly different place, I am sure that he will continue to make the sort of contributions which have made him quite noticed on the Jamaican political landscape,” she said.
“We all welcome him, and we all pledge our cooperation as we work together to do the nation’s business,” she added.
Senator Bunting in his response, pledged to ensure that engagement in the Senate remains robust and solutions-oriented.
“The work of the Senate is primarily focused on review and passage of proposed legislation, and I anticipate that my experience as a four-term legislator in the House of Representatives will serve me well in the Upper House,” he said.
Mr. Bunting pointed out that during his tenure in the Lower House, he helped to develop and pilot a number of “path-breaking Bills”, including the DNA Evidence Act; the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly referred to as the anti-gang legislation; and the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, popularly called the Anti-lottery Scam Act.
“These pieces of legislation are now powerful weapons in the arsenal of law enforcement,” he said.
Senator Bunting further noted that in his continuing role as a legislator, he is looking forward to working with the Leader of Government Business in the Senate to facilitate a robust legislative agenda.