Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, tabled the Third Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for the 2021/22 financial year, in the House of Representatives on January 25.
The Minister said the Estimates reflect the changes and composition of ministries, departments and agencies and other public bodies recently announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
“It’s as a result of the assignment of subjects, departments and agencies and other public bodies, which has led to the creation of a new Ministry – the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs and also the removal of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change. It’s a legal requirement that a supplementary budget be prepared to address the budgetary allocations in respect of the changed entities during the course of a fiscal year,” he explained.
Dr. Clarke noted that the adjustments do not alter the total budgetary expenditure of $893 billion.
“The adjustments proposed to the existing approved Budget for 2021/22 all represent reallocations and do not alter the total budgeted expenditure of $893 billion. Specifically. The third supplementary estimates provide for the closure of Head 21000 which is the ministry of housing, urban renewal and environment and moving all of its functions to Head 19000, which is the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation,” he said.
The Forestry Department has also been moved to that Ministry.
The Minister explained that the supplementary estimates also provide for the establishment of Head 27000, which is the new Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
He said the Ministry will incorporate the Law Revision Secretariat from the Ministry of Justice’s Central Ministry as well as the Legal Reform Unit and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, which are former departments of the Ministry of Justice.
The estimates also reflect the transfer of the Records and Information Management Regulatory Services from the former Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to the Office of the Prime Minister.
The new Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs is headed by Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte.
During the recent swearing-in ceremony, the Prime Minister explained that the new Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs has a major task to reform Jamaica’s laws to start the process of reviewing the country’s Constitution.
“Indeed, the conversation has already begun about our status as a constitutional monarchy and the change that we would all like to see. But there is a process to achieving that and we want to make sure that we order all our steps appropriately, and you will have the task of guiding that from the executive perspective,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness further noted that through this Ministry, greater efforts will be made to ensure that when Jamaica is required to comply with its international obligations, such as Treaties, this is consistent with the country’s legal framework and Constitution.