The dates for formal opening of the fourth session in the life of the current parliament as well as the 2021 Budget presentation have been set for later this month.
Chief of Staff in the Office of the prime Minister, Lionel Hurst said the Throne Speech where the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, will present the government’s legislative and social agenda for the year will take place on January 15.
The Throne Speech presentation is an occasion accompanied by much pomp and circumstance with the Governor General dressed in full ceremonial wear. He will also review a Guard of Honours assembled for the occasion on the parliament grounds.
Following this exercise, he will then proceed to the parliament chamber where he will address a joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Two weeks later, on January 28, Prime Minister Gaston Browne will present the 2021 Budget estimates. Hurst said both occasions which normally draw large numbers of attendees will see changes as COVID-19 health protocols will be in place.
“The number of people who will be invited will be limited and everyone will be required to wear masks. The social distancing rule will be practiced as some of the seats will be blocked off ‘similar to what happens in churches’,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, Hurst is commending the people of Antigua and Barbuda for their adherence to the health protocols especially over the just concluded holiday period. He credits the almost universal adherence to the protocols for the country’s relative success in containing the spread of the coronavirus.