THE USUAL festivity associated with the ceremonial opening of Parliament might be diminished today as crowds have been advised to stay away from the immediate vicinity of Gordon House.
The Ministry of Education said yesterday that after consulting with the schools that might be affected by the opening ceremony of Parliament during the staging of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), and with notice to the parliamentary Opposition, the police have been advised that there should be no assembly in the immediate environs of Parliament.
GSAT, the exam used to place students in secondary schools, is being written by the nation's students over two days, starting today.
Two primary-level schools - St George's Girls and St Aloysius - are situated a stone's throw away from Gordon House on Duke Street in Kingston.
It has been customary for supporters of both major political parties to cheer on the standard bearers of their organisations from various points along Duke Street at the start of the new parliamentary year.
Supporters of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) usually march north along Duke Street singing and shouting party songs while engaging in verbal tussles with supporters of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), who normally march south along Duke Street.
Last Sunday, JLP Deputy Leader Desmond McKenzie told Labourites to wear their party colours and head to Gordon House to support the party.
"This support of Bruce Golding and the Jamaica Labour Party government must be demonstrated in no uncertain terms when we go down to Parliament on Thursday morning," McKenzie told a JLP Area Council One meeting.
"I am not accepting any piecemeal support from Labourites on Thursday. We are going to be getting in touch with the heads of constituencies to ensure that we have big support for our team going to Parliament," McKenzie said.
But unlike the JLP, the PNP said it was not putting in place any plans for the mobilisation of supporters. The party's general secretary, Peter Bunting, said "nothing out of the ordinary was being planned", even though the party expected its supporters in and around the Corporate Area to show up outside the Parliament building.