Parliament welcomes new MPs

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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THE House of Representatives yesterday welcomed its three newest Members of Parliament (MPs) as dozens of Government and Opposition supporters watched inside and outside Gordon House.

Crowds of green-clad Labourites took over their traditional northern end of Duke Street from midday, matched by orange-clad Comrades who stood at the southern end, to greet and cheer on their MPs.

Former Senator and Mayor of Kingston, Dr Angela Rosemarie Brown Burke, who represents the St Andrew South Western People's National Party (PNP) stronghold previously held for 35 years by former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, was the first to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Dressed in a simple red dress with her hair cut low, the bespectacled Brown Burke was assisted by Deputy Clerk to the Houses of Parliament Valrie Curtis through the routine of taking the oath. After which she shook hands with the House Speaker Pearnel Charles Snr and hugged her colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the traditional Gordon House welcome.

Louder cheers greeted the new MP for St Andrew Southern, Mark Golding, a former senator as well as minister of justice who now represents the seat vacated by former Minister of Finance Dr Omar Davies, whose footsteps he now follows as Opposition spokesman on finance and chairman of the House's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Golding was also the only one of the trio to make a maiden presentation in the House of Representatives, when he responded to Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw in the debate on a Bill entitled the GCT (Removal of Exemption) Bill, which was eventually passed with one amendment.

However, the loudest cheers greeted the sole new governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP, Dr Norman Alexander Dunn, dressed in a dark suit and his unmistakable green bow tie, despite an earlier warning from the speaker to those in the gallery that they should not participate in the proceedings, “or else the marshal will have to speak with you”.

The brief proceedings, however, came to the usual abrupt end after 15 minutes, as Speaker Charles reminded the House of its agenda, starting with the usual roll call.

— Balford Henry




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