Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the top priority of her new administration is to work tirelessly to stimulate economic growth, in order to create jobs and further national development.
Speaking at the swearing in of the ministers of the new government at King's House on Friday (January 6), the Prime Minister described the Cabinet as a blend of "youth and experience".
She explained that, at the executive level, her administration is looking at succession planning, and has placed some of the elected young persons to understudy senior, more experienced colleagues. She said this was a continuous process and the country should expect, over time, other young members to receive similar exposure, but warned that "those who get this opportunity must understand that performance is the key".
"I have a large team that is not involved in the present executive, and they are sitting right there in the wings, waiting and watching. This is a warning to the members who are here today," she stated.
The newly elected Prime Minister noted that the administration will be guided by three fundamental principles: participation, accountability and responsibility.
"We must respect and include the people. We must exercise zero tolerance to corruption. We must work tirelessly to promote the rights, welfare and wellbeing of all Jamaicans," she stated. Government's respect for the people will be demonstrated in its willingness and readiness to consult them and to listen to their views on matters of vital importance to their wellbeing, she added.
She also noted that she will be working tirelessly to eradicate corruption, pointing out that it "creates cynicism and undermines good governance, by subtracting from the trust between the leaders and the people".
She argued that corruption also robs the country of vital resources, and creates discord and dissatisfaction among the populace.
"I am signaling today that this administration will take a zero tolerance approach to corruption, and that we will move quickly to strengthen the existing mechanisms to fight corruption, and will exercise our minds to finding new and innovative ways to stop the waste of public resources," she remarked.
She was adamant that all public servants will be held accountable for the judicious management of public resources. She said she was mindful of the challenges ahead, pointing to the harsh economic times, both locally and globally, but the government will be working overtime to stimulate economic growth.
"We are faced with tight fiscal constraints, a huge national debt, pressing social needs, especially in health care and in education, and decay in social infrastructure. Consequently, the single most important priority of this new government is to c," she observed.
Mrs. Simpson Miller acknowledged that the economic problems cannot be fixed overnight, but pledged to work tirelessly to identify the root causes, and to implement strategies and programmes to kick start activities that create jobs and generate wealth for all Jamaicans.
She said that her government will "deepen Jamaica's democracy" by promoting and strengthening the consultative facilities, to give Jamaicans a greater stake in governance. She also reminded her Cabinet of their tremendous responsibility to the people of Jamaica, and that they must endeavour to live up to their obligations, as best as possible.
"I want to remind you that it is about the people of Jamaica, not about yourselves or a political party," she said.
The cabinet will comprise a total of 20 ministers as follows:
Prime Minister Simpson Miller will be responsible for Defence, Development, Information and Sports. Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, Finance, Planning and the Public Service; Senator Arnold J. Nicholson, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Hon. Peter Bunting, National Security; Hon. Ronald Thwaites, Education; Hon. Lisa Hanna, Youth and Culture; Hon. Robert Pickersgill, Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change; Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Health; Hon. Anthony Hylton, Industry, Investment and Commerce; Hon. Mark Golding, Justice; Hon. Derrick Kellier, Labour and Social Security; Hon. Noel Arscott, Local Government and Community Development; Hon. Dr. Omar Davies, Transport, Works and Housing; Dr. Wykeham McNeil, Tourism and Entertainment; Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Mining, Energy and ICT; and Hon. Roger Clarke, Agriculture and Fisheries.
As well as four Ministers without Portfolio: Hon Dr. Morais Guy, who will be responsible for Housing; Senator Sandrea Falconer, responsible for Information; Hon Horace Dalley, Public Service; and Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley – Sports within the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Ministers of State are: Hon. Arnoldo Brown – Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams – Industry, Investment and Commerce; Hon. Ian Hayles – Agriculture and Fisheries; Hon. Colin Fagan – Local Government and Community Development; Hon. Richard Azan – Transport, Works and Housing; Hon. Damion Crawford – Tourism and Entertainment; Hon. Julian Robinson – Mining, Energy and ICT; and Hon Luther Buchanan – Office of the Prime Minister.