Parliament to resume with intense debate
Published: Saturday | January 10, 2009
Finance and Public Service Minister Audley Shaw indicated late last year that the first supplementary estimates, which set out the administration's revised spending for the remainder of the fiscal year, would be tabled early January.
A parliamentary showdown is looming between Shaw and Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Dr Omar Davies.
Davies had said that the Government's $489.5-billion budget lacks credibility.
Jab at PNP
Addressing Parliament towards the end of the year, Prime Minister Bruce Golding made a jab at the People's National Party, saying it had saddled the country with a severe debt burden during its 18 years in government.
In addition, Golding argued that the $15 billion the Government had to find to settle the salary agreement for teachers had severely affected the Budget.
The teachers' remuneration package was adjusted to 80 per cent of that of their counterparts in the private sector.
Sharp exchanges are expected between the Government and Opposition when the issue of the sliding Jamaican dollar, which has now moved closer to J$81 to the $US1, is highlighted.
While the country continues to search for answers to the surge in crime and violence in the New Year, it is uncertain when Parliament will begin debate on the six crime bills.
Already more than 30 people, including a policeman, have died violently since the start of the year.
Parliamentarians have been divided on proposed interim legislation to amend the Bail Act giving the police powers to detain persons without charge for 60 days.
Human-rights groups and the Jamaican Bar Association have also raised questions about the constitutionality of this move.
The main items on the order of business for the first sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday have not yet been disclosed. But before the afternoon session at 2 p.m., a joint select committee deliberating on 'The Independent Commission of Investigations Act, 2008' will meet at 10 a.m.
The draft legislation is intended to establish an independent commission of Parliament to investigate police excesses.