Mr. Speaker and Members of this Honourable House, It is indeed a pleasure to be standing here once again and to be privileged to be a part of the 2009/2010 Sectoral Debate.
You will recall that over the last twenty two (22) months I was the subject of a court case regarding my legitimacy in the House. I stand here proud today to say that I am one hundred percent Jamaican. I have returned to this Honourable House, bigger and better than before. For this, I pay special tribute to the people of West Portland. My presence here is testimony to the fact that democracy and justice are alive and well in Jamaica.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have with me here today my entire family minus my mom. It is not because her citizenship caused me so many problems why she is not here but rather that she lives in Vancouver; and no, Vancouver in Canada not in the USA. I know, however, that if circumstances permitted she would have been here for my first presentation to the Sectoral Debate as a Cabinet Minister.
Mr. Speaker here with me today is my father, former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, Douglas Vaz, my bothers Ricky and Wayne, my loving and supportive wife Ann Marie, and five children – Amanda, Adam, Chris, Gabriel and my youngest Victoria. To you I say thanks for lending me to the people of Jamaica, at the great sacrifice of my time and presence with you and to assure you that I continue to work to make Jamaica a better place for us all.
Mr. Speaker, I must also thank my Prime Minister and Leader for allowing me the opportunity to serve as part of the Party and Government that he leads; starting in 2007, as Minister of State and being promoted three months ago to full Cabinet Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with oversight for the Information and Telecommunications portfolio while maintaining my responsibilities for Special Projects.
Prime Minister, in 2007 when I was being sworn in, I promised to seize the opportunity by working hard and making you proud. I know I did that at the polls, and I continue to work tirelessly as a member of your Government during these most difficult times in Jamaica’s history. I often say to myself when I lay in bed, unable to sleep, worrying about Jamaica and the world, that we are blessed to have you at the helm at a time like this. It is God’s doing; He knows best.
To my colleague Members of Parliament and Ministers, it continues to be a pleasure working with you for the betterment of the lives of the people of Jamaica.
Mr. Speaker, I must also recognize the members of my personal and administrative staff and my team that provides support in the constituency. Without you all I would not be here today. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment. I acknowledge the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and their respective staff and thank them for all their assistance in the execution of my duties.
To the Information and Telecommunications Department headed by the Director General, your technical advice and tireless commitment to get the job done are highly appreciated.
My thanks to the Planning and Development team and its Chief Technical Director for their tremendous support with my Special Projects.
Of course, each Agency and their respective Boards have discharged their mandates in a manner that is a tribute to the overall performance of the Ministry.
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