Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege for me to address this Parliament, in a budget debate as Prime Minister once again. For this, I owe a great debt of gratitude to the people of Jamaica for their vote of confidence in me and in the team that I lead.

It is with deep humility and a sense of history that I say thanks today.

I must begin with thanking Almighty God, who has always held me steady and kept me sure. “He is my rock and my Salvation; He is my fortress”.

I thank the Jamaican people for their consistent prayers and words of encouragement.  I think of the children of Jamaica.  Their names are written across my heart. It is their sparkling eyes and pure hearts that give me energy and motivation. They give me the strength to persevere, to never stop working; and to never stop searching for the right solutions in these difficult times that demand even more than our best efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I crave the indulgence of this Honourable House as I thank:

my husband Errald for his love, understanding and support;

my housekeeper Marva for her continued loyalty and devotion;

my brother, sisters and other family members for always standing by my side, as a constant reminder of the importance of family; and

the members of my Security Team for their vigilance and dedication to duty.

I extend my gratitude to you, Mr. Speaker, the Clerk of the Houses of Parliament and her staff, for the continued professionalism and commitment to the administration of the affairs of the Houses of Parliament.

I acknowledge and thank the Officers and Members of the People’s National Party. Thank you all for the work you continue to do under very difficult circumstances.

I pay tribute to all the members of my constituency of South West St Andrew who continue to demonstrate their confidence in my representation.

Permit me, Mr. Speaker, to thank and acknowledge all newly elected members of the nation’s Parish Councils, the KSAC and the Portmore Municipality and in particular the Mayors and Deputy Mayors.  I have to make special mention of the three Councilors from my own constituency of South West St Andrew. 

I must also express my thanks to the Public Servants in the Office of the Cabinet and the Office of the Prime Minister. I thank the Ministers and staff of the two Ministries for which I have portfolio responsibility.

I also extend gratitude to all those who serve in the other Ministries.  The Public Service can be assured that it will be given respect and appreciation by my Administration.  I expect, in turn, that it will operate to the highest level of professionalism and exercise care in carrying out its duties to the Jamaican society.

I wish to thank my personal staff and the Members of the Prime Minister’s Task Force for their dedication to service and their commitment to excellence.  Thank you all for the fine work you continue to do. 


Tribute to HRM

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I wish to pay public tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

There is no doubt that Her Majesty has been a gracious and engaging lady and a model of dedication to duty.   We will dedicate more time for tributes to Her Majesty tomorrow. 


The People Spoke

Mr. Speaker, I have listened keenly to everyone in these debates.  Given all that has been said, I will be setting the record straight. 

Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, no one can seriously, or successfully, question my love for the Jamaican people and my dedication to them.  The people of Jamaica have not only heard my words but they know my heart.  They know my deeds.  They know that mine has been a life of unquestionable service. My record of commitment to ensuring that the interests of the people are protected stands as a testament.  This is why on December 29th 2011 the people spoke with their votes.

In the current debate I have been accused of all manner of things.  But truth will prevail and I have full confidence in the trust of the people of Jamaica. I want to assure you that I have heard your voices.  I have listened and will continue to respond to your concerns.


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