Senator Longmore beats cancer threat

Inside Parliament

With Balford Henry

Sunday, October 07, 2018

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It is a fact that despite all the rivalry that the cameras expose on meeting days at Gordon House, there is a general feeling of camaderie below the surface that is best seen inside the lounge, for example.

The fact that one of the members of the Senate has appeared to have been fully recovered from a bout with cancer was certainly a clear opportunity for the Upper House to express that good fellowship by welcoming her back and showing solidarity with her as an overcomer.

It didn't happen that way exactly, but president of the Senate, Senator Thomas Tavares Finson, did not allow it to pass. He made reference to the fact that she had recovered and that it is actually Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It was good to see Senator Sapphire Longmore once more attending meetings, without the stress and fear of the cancerous growth.

Below is the message she posted on her Facebook page on October 2 explaining what happened:

“Today marks 1 year (since) I recognised I have cancer...Give Thanks... one year later I am cancer-free and on the last phase of my treatment to reduce the chances of recurrence......

“One photo reflects when I started chemo and the second was this morning after dropping my kids to school. (S both pictures were put up on her page). In both I am victorious, in both I am grateful to the Almighty for giving me the strength, wisdom and guidance, the people and means I need to be not just a survivor but one who thrives.... In both I am well and right where I needed to be to fulfill my destiny.

“I give thanks to all who held and are still holding my hand, all who have sent kind words and positive vibrations....

“So much things to say but not today…Yes indeed it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.... Y'all can't say this Dr didn't remind u to get yourself checked... And not just breast but your overall health.

One Year Strong Fb....ONE YEAR STRONG....October 3rd is the date but Tuesday was the day.”

By the way, Senator Longmore is a consultant psychiatrist at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

PM explains plans for Parliament building at National Heroes Circle

Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave very detailed responses to a number of questions raised by Opposition spokesman on industry and investment Peter Bunting, on Tuesday, pertaining to the plans for what is known as the Government's Oval project at Heroes' Circle.

The projects aims to turn National Heroes' Circle, Heroes Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods into a modern commercial and residential area, housing a new Parliament building, as well as Government ministries, departments and agencies and a housing development.

The parliamentarians were extremely concerned about the effect on plans for a new Parliament building, which has been a serious structural issue for the members for several years.

The prime minister was asked by Bunting why has the Government decided to start the design competition for the Houses of Parliament to be sited in the middle of National Heroes Park when the public consultations may result in the relocation of the site?

Holness traced the idea for a substantive Parliament building back to 1956 when, according to his response, the King George VI Memorial Park Act (the original name of National Heroes' Park) stipulated that up to 11.4 acres of the park may be designed for the location of Parliament building.

According to the Prime Minister this has been the long standing intention of successive governments, including Norman Manley's. He noted, however, that the design of the building is not specific to the location, in particular given the characteristics of the site, and it may be sited elsewhere.

But he explained that with the land is already owned by Government, and with no acquisition required to commence planning, the national design competition would maximise its development potential.

Public consultation will focus on the broad development impact of the development proposal and not only on sections of the plan, he added.

Finance Minister gloats increased capital spending in revised budget

Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Nigel Clarke had a lot to gloat about in terms of the country's capital budget for 2018/19 when he opened the debate on the first supplementary estimates for fiscal year on Tuesday.

“It should be noted”, Clarke pointed out, that expenditure on capital programmes for the first quarter of the fiscal year was, in fact, higher than budgeted by approximately five per cent.

“This is significant. This is the first year in nearly a decade that we have ended the first quarter ahead of the capital expenditure budget,” he pointed out.

He noted that the deviation this year was a positive 4.8 per cent compared to negative deviations of up to -35 per cent (2015/16) and -34 per cent (2014/15).

“This is not an accident. This is because we believe that capital expenditure is crucial for our economy;it improves public service delivery, leads to productivity gains and improves lives,” the minister insisted.

He explained that in terms of the whole 2018/19 budget, over the fiscal year to now, a number of critical expenditure pressures had emerged that necessitated a revision of the estimates, resulting in net additional expenditure of $17.4 billion in the supplementary estimates.

As it turned out, the supplementary estimates provided for a revision of the original budget from $773.7 billion to $791.1 billion.

This comprised: $466.1 billion in non-debt expenditure; $289.9 billion in debt-servicing payments; and, $35.2 billion to address the Bank of Jamaica's recapitalisation, the purchase of Petrojam shares, and the loan to the Port Authority of Jamaica in respect of the business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities.

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