Madam Speaker, I rise this afternoon to close the Budget Debate on the Appropriation Bill for the 2022/23 fiscal year.

This is the 60th budget debate in Jamaica’s independent history.

We honor and salute all of the leaders who came before us, who fought for our freedom, who established these noble institutions, and who helped build our country while steadfastly and faithfully adhering to the tenets and principles of our Constitution.

This process of transparently laying before the peoples’ representatives the fiscal plans and programmes for the year, and the means of financing them, forms a cornerstone of our democratic order. We approach this process with tremendous humility and respect for all those who came before us and who have paved the way.

Indeed, Madam Speaker, we stand collectively on the shoulders of giants.

Madam Speaker, we thank the presenters in the debate for their robust presentations, even when misguided!

We thank the Prime Minister for his masterful presentation last Thursday. The Prime Minister continues to bring calm and steady leadership, particularly during a time of crisis, and he continues to provide hope for millions.

We thank the Leader of the Opposition for his pretty, pretty presentation. Lots of graphics designers up at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition! He huffed and he puffed, with a message of doom and gloom, but sadly butchering figures along the way!

We also thank the Opposition Spokesman on Finance for his presentation. You noticed that he came with accurate Consumer Affairs Commission data this time, unlike last year! And so he saved me a few pages today, for that I am grateful.

Thanks to you, Madam Speaker. You have been doing an excellent job in maintaining the order of these proceedings.

Thanks to the Parliamentary staff, the Clerk and Deputy Clerk, the Marshals, the Stenographers, and all who work at the House of Parliament for your dedication and professionalism.

Thanks to the Financial Secretary and the entire staff at the Ministry of Finance, who are among the finest in this region, and indeed among the finest anywhere in the world.

Thanks also to my security detail and driver.

Thanks to the members of the media and the listening public for tuning in. A special word of thanks for those in the diaspora and those following on social media, on Instagram or YouTube or on Facebook or on Twitter, thank you for your participation and interest.

And, of course, I again express thanks to my family, for their loving support.

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