In a few weeks, the Parliament will be prorogued and legislators will be off to the dressmaker and tailor to ensure that they make that fashion statement on the walk along Duke Street into George William Gordon House.
The entire charade of the governor general examining the guard of honour at the front of the Parliament and then going inside to deliver the Throne Speech will take place on April 4, the same day the Estimates of Expenditure is tabled.
And then its business as usual, which means little business.
Again, we will be having a lengthy Budget Debate, with Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips opening on April 18 and closing on May 1. In between those dates, Audley Shaw, opposition spokesman on finance, will make his contribution on April 23.
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is scheduled to make his presentation on April 25 while Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will make her contribution to the debate on April 30.
The Gavel has made the point that at the start of the current legislative year, the Government indicated it intended to pass 32 bills, which would be about twice the average of the last few years. At the rate at which the people's business is progressing, Jamaican citizens would be lucky if 20 such bills are passed into law.
We have made the point, which has been copied and presented by Senator Robert Montague as an original thought, that it is important that the Government give an indicative schedule of all the bills that are intended to be passed in the next year. We hope to get that schedule at the same time the estimates are tabled.
On the matter of the Throne Speech, The Gavel is disappointed that the Parliament has barely moved on a motion by North East St Elizabeth Member Raymond Pryce, which seeks to deepen the country's sovereignty.
Change the throne speech
Last year, Pryce gave notice of the motion to have the Throne Speech renamed the People's Speech but was only cleared to commence debate on the motion in January.
The Throne Speech is delivered at the start of each legislative year by the governor general. The speech contains the plans and programmes of the Government for the ensuing year.
Pryce said, that as a democrat, only people selected by the people to represent their interest should have dominion over them.
"I reject and continue to resist the retention of any tradition that would suggest that anyone other than our own has the responsibility for our development," Pryce said.
He added: "I think that at this time of our maturation, it is important that we do away with any traditions or symbols that could cause any one of our number, as citizens of this country, to depend on or believe in a foreign national of any status to guide the path of our development."
That motion, despite the parliamentary year drawing to a close, is still on the table.
But we are not surprised by the way in which the Parliament has treated this matter. It is as if the word sovereignty was a hot potato. In fact, the Government is hiding away from debating its own bills, which seek to abolish appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller last July tabled the three bills in Parliament to pave the way for the abolition of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, replacing it with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica's final appellate court. She has not moved for a second reading on those bills, and the entire Parliament has been silent. No one has asked why the bills continue to linger on the order paper.
We wager, however, that the entire Parliament is waiting to contribute to the Sectoral Debate, which is nothing more than a soapbox.
We hope that at least one MP will do the unthinkable: move a motion seeking for a change in the way the Sectoral Debate is done. That debate, we believe, can be very important if it is structured in such a way as to focus on getting solutions, legislative and otherwise, to critical areas of national life. We won't hold our breaths, though, because for many MPs, the Sectoral is the only time they speak, even if it is nonsense that comes from their mouths.
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