My heart is overflowing with gratitude to my Maker for the opportunity to rise once again to contribute to a budget debate. I first entered this Honourable House in December 1976 after the historic General Elections of that year.
I remain very grateful for the many blessings which have sustained me over the years. There is no greater honour than when people invest the full measure of their trust and confidence in their elected representative.
Accordingly, there is no greater privilege for a Member of Parliament than to fight to give voice to the voiceless, and to defend the rights of the poor and marginalized.
This has been the good fortune and ultimate honour of my life in representational and national politics for the past 43 years.
I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people; and,
I have worked even harder to preserve that trust.
During my journey in public life, many people have made important contributions to my development and success.
Time will not allow me to pay tribute to everyone, but Mr. Speaker allow me to mention a few:
• My husband Errald for his love and support.
• My housekeeper Marva, whose work ethic represents and reminds me what dignity in service means.
• The Members of my personal staff and my various support teams; I thank you for always going the extra mile and for always having my back.
• To my Councillors, Audrey Smith Facey, Karl Blake and Eugene Kelly; and to those who served before them, in particular – former Councillors Basil Gordon and Junior Robinson – maximum respect and a big thank you.
• The loyal people of South West St Andrew who provided the platform that launched me into the highest seat of Government. They have been the base of my political strength and a fountain of inspiration.