Speech

Mr. President I welcome the opportunity to address this Honourable Senate in my first State of the Nation debate since assuming office in September 2007 as Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
It is a great honour and yet humbling to be given the opportunity to serve my country in this capacity, and I thank the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, for the confidence he has reposed in me.
First, I wish to thank the Lord for his blessings and guidance in helping me to surmount the early challenges faced, and pray that he continues to give me the necessary wisdom and strength to cope with the tasks ahead.
I also want to thank my colleagues on this side for the tremendous support they continue to give me as Leader of Government Business in the Senate.Mr President, I thank also my colleagues on that side for their cooperation – having overcome the initial discomfort and disorientation of being on that side – and participation in matters coming before the Senate. Your interventions have, undoubtedly, resulted in better laws being passed.
Mr. President I wish to thank my Parliamentary Liaison and staff at the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, Legal Reform, the Solicitor General and officers of the Attorney General’s Chambers, my Consultants/Advisers, and staff of the several other Departments and Agencies. They have been unstinting in their efforts to ensure that I stay on course, and I thank them for their continued efforts and commitment to the work before us.
My thanks too to the Clerk and staff of this Parliament who I have always found very helpful. I want to specially laud the Hansaard Writers who work tirelessly to ensure that our deliberations are documented for posterity. I thank the Media too whose role in reporting on our deliberations cannot be minimized. Last but certainly not least, I thank you, Mr. President, for the leadership and aplomb with which you conduct the proceedings in this House.
Mr. President, while we were in Opposition we set out our vision and plans to make this country better, in our 2007 Manifesto; and there were those, Mr President, who mistakenly characterised our vision and the commitment to achieve it, as mere promises which could not be achieved.
My Government, Mr President, reaffirms its commitment to heed the cry for Justice made so stridently and for so long by the Jamaican people; and we reassert the view that we make commitments not promises.
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