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Parties embrace new security arrangements at Gordon House

Published:Thursday | April 14, 2016 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP) have embraced new security arrangements, which have been put in place by the police for the ceremonial opening of the 2016-2017 parliamentary year at Gordon House in downtown Kingston.

Supporters of both major political parties are to be dislodged by a fresh bout of security restrictions when the anticipated flurry of political supporters materialises on Duke Street for the colourful first session of the joint sitting of members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Derrick Smith, leader of government business in the House, told The Gleaner that new security restrictions would result in the JLP diehards being shunted to the intersection of North and Duke streets.

Traditionally, Labourites assembled at the intersection of Beeston and Duke streets.

PNP diehards, who traditionally thronged the Duke-Beeston streets intersection, will be pushed back to Sutton Street.

Security concerns understandable

The party's spokesman on Information, Julian Robinson, told The Gleaner that the security concerns that influenced the decision of the police are understandable.

"We support the rules outlined by the police to ensure that the events go smoothly and with good order," said Robinson."We have no issues with what has been proposed and we will comply."

Added Robinson: "There was a bit of over enthusiasm on the part of some of our supporters the last time, and we are going to do all we can to prevent a recurrence of that and to ensure that while they express their views, they must do so in a respectful way."

Smith concurred.

"I expect supporters to be enthusiastic and cheer on their representatives," said Smith. "We don't want them to be any less enthusiastic because of new security restrictions."

He expressed optimism that notwithstanding the changes, the strong support, which for many years has characterised the annual ceremonial opening of Parliament, will be no different this time around.

"They need to be even more enthusiastic and cheering, seeing that they will be further away from where they are accustomed to being, but just be orderly," he said.