a. I wish to once again thank the staff of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and other agencies for their assistance in the course of preparations for this Debate.

b. I also wish to thank the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, and the Opposition Spokesman on Finance for their contributions.

c. It is also important to specifically recognise the essential role in the formulation and debate of the budget played by the public and by civil society, especially the press. There is a new energy among Jamaican taxpayers which I applaud.

d. They realise that this budget is about their money and how this Administration will act as a reliable steward of their resources. We must pass the People’s Test.

e. In these remarks, I will (1) briefly outline a summary of the budget, (2) address some of the inaccuracies and misleading statements by the Opposition, (3) address some of the suggestions of the Opposition, (4) provide some third-party thoughts on our administration and budget, and then (5) make some concluding remarks.

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