Sunday 20 September, 2020

MPs, senators to be sworn in as new Parliament convenes on Tuesday

The Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston is to be the venue for the opening session of the new Parliament on Tuesday when 63 Members of Parliament (MP) and 21 senators are slated to be sworn in.

The ceremony is scheduled to get under way at 11 am.

The more spacious conference centre is being used to ensure social distancing protocols are observed in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that Gordon House on Duke Street where the Parliament normally meets does not have enough space for parliamentarians, staff, visitors and members of the media who are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

The new Parliament is to convene 12 days after the September 3 General Elections, which saw the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) inflicting a massive defeat on the People’s National Party (PNP) led by Dr Peter Phillips.

The JLP won 48 seats to the 15 declared for the PNP. However, with several magisterial recounts under way or about to get under way, the numbers could change either way.

Holness was sworn in as Prime Minister for a third time four days after the elections, and his full slate of Cabinet and state ministers was sworn in over two days last Sunday and Monday. It is now the turn of the MPs and senators to take the oath of office.

Holness has picked attorney-at-law Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert to be the Speaker of the House. This will be her second stint in the position, having previously served between July 2011 and December 2011.

The experienced legislator has won a fourth consecutive term as MP for Southern Trelawny. As Speaker of the House, she will replaces Pearnel Charles Sr, who has retired from representational politics.

Dalrymple-Philibert is the second woman to hold the position of Speaker, following Violet Nielsen who served in the position from 1997 to 2003 in a PNP administration.

Tuesday’s swearing-in of MPS and senators is to officially mark the start of the new term for the Government.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: