With the ceremonial aspect of its opening now out of the way, Parliament’s new session enters its second sitting tomorrow, with keen debate anticipated between the almost evenly matched Government and Opposition sides.
Having elected the presiding officers and the members of the various committees last Wednesday evening, it is expected that the laying of the 2013-2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure will be one of the first orders of business of the re-elected Democratic Labour Party administration tomorrow in the House of Assembly.
The document will be tabled by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, and its availability precedes next week’s related debate in the Lower House, following by discussion in the Senate.
Some people are anticipating the contents of the Estimates document, as they believe it will be a gauge of the type of economic policy Government intends to pursue in the coming months.
While up to the time of writing it was unclear what business would engage the House’s attention tomorrow, prior to the February 21 general election the Freundel Stuart Administration had identified some legislative items that would continue to be high on its agenda if re-elected.
These included the Cultural Industries Development Act, which was approved by the then Cabinet during the election campaign.
Political observers expect this new session of Parliament to be a hotly contested one, particularly because of the DLP’s small majority. It now holds 16 seats to the Opposition BLP’s 14.
It becomes even smaller based on the fact that 13 of the MPs are Cabinet members, while the remaining three are Speaker of the House, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees.
It also means that there will be times when on matters requiring a two thirds majority government will have to depend on the support of the Opposition.
In what many saw as a sign of things to come, Government narrowly defeated an Opposition effort to delay the approval and installation of Parliament’s new Management Commission in the first session last week. (SC)