Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural, Juliet Holness, has been appointed speaker of the House of Representatives.
The prime minister’s wife had been the deputy speaker since September 2020, when the Jamaica Labour Party retained State power after the General Election.
She was installed as Speaker on Tuesday after she was nominated by acting House Leader Delroy Chuck. Her nomination was seconded by Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Phillip Paulwell.
The Member of Parliament for St James Central, Heroy Clarke, was appointed the deputy speaker.
In her acceptance speech, Holness thanked members “for the confidence that has been reposed in me to handle the very difficult job of being the speaker of this Parliament”.
“I accept my responsibility with great humility, and I will always endeavour to ensure that I manage with equity, judiciously, balance, and always in keeping with the Standing Orders of this noble House,” she added.
Holness noted that it was “the beginning of excellent camaraderie when a member from the Opposition side stands up to second the nomination of the member from the Government side for speaker and deputy speaker”.
She expressed the hope that as the Parliament does its duty on behalf of the people of Jamaica, “we will continue to display that type of relationship that keeps our House disciplined and orderly in the benefit of all the people of Jamaica”.
For his part, Clarke also expressed gratitude to his colleagues for their decision to nominate him for the position of deputy speaker.
“And I, too, affirm that I will work diligently along with my colleagues on both sides to make sure that discipline and order continue to be in this House, and so we follow the Standing Orders,” he said.
The vacancy for the speaker’s job came about with last Thursday’s resignation of Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert following a report from the Integrity Commission.
The report found that Dalrymple-Philibert, who also resigned as the Member of Parliament for Trelawny Southern, had failed to declare a Mercedes Benz in her statutory filings for six years from 2015-2021. The commission ruled that she be slapped with eight criminal charges; the former speaker said the omission was a “genuine oversight”.