- The momentum built up in the expansion of agriculture has kept that sector performing well.
- As a people, we, therefore, have hope that is born of the strength, the resilience and the creativity of the Jamaican people.
- I remain committed to the mission to build a better Jamaica, to empower you the Jamaican people and in so doing, enable you to improve your lives and the lives of generations to come.
My fellow Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora:
I greet you on this New Year’s Day in the positive spirit that the New Year brings. The dawning of a New Year also comes with opportunities for new beginnings in all aspects of our lives.
With a New Year there will be new possibilities for us to advance as individuals and as a nation. Each year our people aim for new achievements driven by their efforts as honest, hard-working Jamaicans who never stop striving to move themselves, their families, their communities and our nation forward.
Jamaica is moving forward confident in the solid foundations that have been laid by the people in their communities; by civil society groups, by enterprising business men and women large and small and by the efforts of successive Governments.
The successes that Jamaica has secured are the result of the united efforts of Jamaicans from all walks of life at home and in the Diaspora, as well as many groups and organisations in the society. These groups include the team that I have had the privilege of leading both in Government and in Opposition for the past ten years. As a united team working together with the people, we have been able to chart and influence significant national progress.
I am pleased to have made my contribution to securing important forward movement for the Jamaican nation, society and people. This has been accomplished by working with my colleagues and the many stakeholders across Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world.
The transformation of the economy during our Administration from 2012 to 2016 has provided the groundwork for new confidence in the present and positive hope for the future.
Barring any major global financial shocks or economic policy failures by the current Administration, Jamaica has been firmly set on a path of economic reform and growth.
Already we are seeing the tremendous gains from the visionary investments in highway infrastructure, in renewable energy, tourism and Business Process Outsourcing industries which were started during that period.
The momentum built up in the expansion of agriculture has kept that sector performing well.
The advances the country has made in Education constitute an important foundation on which to build the human resources of the nation and society for continued personal and collective growth.
The future success of Jamaica will be dependent on how well our people are prepared and trained for economic and social opportunities and how competitive we are globally.
In all these areas, we laid solid groundwork that now creates the basis for which the Jamaican nation and people can face 2017 with optimism.
Progress made in the past and the dawning of a New Year, however, does not mean the absence of obstacles. Many such hurdles are already presenting themselves in the management of the economy by the current Government. There is the devastating impact of the rising cost living on the poor, the working class and the middle class. This has been fuelled by the imposition of increasing indirect taxes on the people by the Government.
The Administration has also signalled that there will be some retrenchment and resulting loss of jobs in the public sector. This, as the Government seeks to contain the national wage bill.
The Supplementary Estimates which are expected to be brought to Parliament in January will hold the start of more bad news from the Government for the majority of the Jamaican people.
Throughout our history, however, the Jamaican people have never allowed our success in the world to be limited by the actions or inaction of any Government. It has been our experience that challenges exist to be surmounted by the resilient human spirit and the unquenchable thirst for success. These are character traits that define the vast majority of Jamaicans.
As a people, we, therefore, have hope that is born of the strength, the resilience and the creativity of the Jamaican people.
As we undertake our personal contemplations, the New Year 2017 provides a clean slate for each one of us to become a better person. It creates new horizons towards which to aspire and work. The New Year holds the potential for fresh new starts in our lives; to achieve new dreams and scale new heights of professional, personal and collective achievements.
It has been my life’s purpose to work to advance the interest of the broad masses of my Jamaican people. I thank God for blessing me with the health, strength, energy, vision, ability and commitment to have served the people in various capacities for more than 42 years. I thank the Jamaican people for having taken this journey of faith with me for the past four decades and more. It has been my joy to have dedicated my adult life to the service of Jamaica and to you the Jamaican people. Each day I have been strengthened by your support and sustained by your love.
As the New Year dawns, I embrace a new phase of my life and my service to Jamaica: One in which my passion for the upliftment of the poor and the vulnerable will not subside. My concern for the advancement of persons with disability will not be diminished and my advocacy for the well-being of our nation’s children will never be dimmed.
I remain committed to the mission to build a better Jamaica, to empower you the Jamaican people and in so doing, enable you to improve your lives and the lives of generations to come.
My Jamaican brothers and sisters, let 2017 be the year when we set new personal goals no matter how modest they may be. For in setting realistic goals and working consistently towards achieving them we guarantee our growth and development.
Let us not be daunted by the setbacks or allow criticisms to defeat our ‘Can Do’ spirit. United in purpose we must forge ahead because without unity the great promise of the New Year will ring hollow. Without harmony in our homes, schools, churches, workplaces, communities and society, our goals will elude us and the glorious potential of the New Year would have been wasted.
In this context, every Jamaican must resolve to work to create an environment of peace this year. 2017 must be a year for new commitments of resources by the Government to fight crime and provide an anxious nation with the assurance of a peaceful tomorrow. Peace must start with each Jamaican youth, man, woman and child resolving to live peaceably with each other. Peace is a product of respect and respect for others comes from respect for ourselves. Let 2017 be The Year of Respect and the New Year a year of peace and harmony in our land.
Happy New Year! May God bless our nation and our people and continue to bless and protect Jamaica land we love.