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After waiting in the wings for 18 years, the last eight months have involved a lot of focus being placed by me on seeking to identify and correct a ‘jungle’ of inadequacies, many of which I had advised against. There had obviously been questionable actions and clear lack of vision in terms of planning, which had apparently become endemic features of the political direction of both the country and the ministry. Clearly, inertia was an obvious feature, and this was preventing the ministry from getting things done.
I am thus happy to have arrived at a point where some of the ministry’s portfolio areas are now on course to deliver a cohesive, pragmatic and positive contribution to the national development agenda. This relates to the public’s right to expect transportation with dignity on good quality road surfaces, with efficient travel or transportation connections within a broad, multi-modal plan to create a network of transport involving air, sea, road and rail.
Within this period of time – eight months – we have been seeking to re-channel our collective efforts in the direction of global first world standards, some of which are already being realised, in stark contrast to the many stagnation-plagued years before. These successes and improvements, in no uncertain measure, are being achieved through commendable support and input from the central leadership team and the supporting staff at the ministry. They who are now being all fused along a central path aimed at ‘Providing Security and Dignity in Transportation and Infrastructure’. This is being done with Jamaica’s interest being foremost as the point of focus. In this endeavour, I must also recognise the critical leadership and support personnel of the many agencies and entities within the overall portfolios of transport and works.
A hearty ‘thank you’ to my Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary as head of the ministry’s management team, along with the team leaders, the policy officers and the general staff. Similarly, I hail the leadership of the Heads of Agencies and applicable Entities, along with their team members, and likewise, the new Chairpersons and Members of the new Boards for which the ministry has responsibility. I thank those who have served in the past. Thank you to the present team members for your input so far, and I am looking forward to your continued support, as we seek to analyse, learn and implement. In some cases it will be almost immediately, in others, within a two to five-year timeframe, with the creation of permanent jobs as a focus, including new areas of employment in the maritime and aeronautical industries.
Of course, I must make special mention of those most immediately around me on a day-to-day basis – including my wife, Dawn, the rest of my family, my assistants, advisers and direct support staff, whose dedication has been extremely commendable and useful in helping me to quickly take hold of the portfolios and begin to chart the course towards purposeful, progressive and forward-thinking stewardship of the ministry, lifting fifth world thinking to a first world outlook.
To the Prime Minister who charged me with the major responsibility of piloting the ministry’s contribution to the national developmental agenda, I take this opportunity to record my gratitude. Likewise, I thank my Cabinet colleagues for their support and advice, as we collectively seek to bring prosperity to this land which we all love so much, and with a focused driver to chart the new course.
I also take this opportunity to thank the Speaker of the House and the Parliamentary Staff for the courtesies they have extended to me and the patience and understanding that they continue to demonstrate.
To have returned to Gordon House last September meant continuing to hold the faith of my Constituents in Central Clarendon, whom I again thank for their trust and understanding. To them and my Constituency Executive, my Councillors and my Constituency Workers, your respect is ‘concrete’. We can all look forward to the Constituency Development Fund, which this fiscal year, will be focused mainly in the areas of early childhood education and the development of economic and production centres, namely in the Effortville and West Park communities
In concluding this acknowledgement, I thank Jah for having guided me to the ministry, and for paving the way for the levels of improvement that have been realised so far, with so much more to come. As one family within the ministry, we intend to move forward in this new fiscal year, during which we are confident that we will be able to further raise the bar of service in our collective quest to succeed at Providing Security and Dignity in Transportation and Infrastructure, all in Jamaica’s best interest. In this we will have to do much with little, being fully cognisant of limitations placed on us as a nation by the global crisis in terms of oil and food staple prices.
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