CONTRIBUTION TO SECTORAL DEBATE 2008/2009 BY THE HON. RUDYARD SPENCER, OD, M.P. MINISTER OF HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT


I rise to make my maiden presentation as Minister of Health and Environment at a time of great challenge and change in the global and local arenas.
But Mr. Speaker, we in this Honourable House are the beneficiaries of a legacy that has been passed on by some of the most outstanding men and women who have served in these hallowed halls.
I make reference in particular to two of our Founding Fathers and National Heroes, Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley.
Mr. Speaker, we may, at different times, have argued about their methods but there can be no argument about their sincere motive and their great love for the people of Jamaica.
It is incumbent upon us to proceed with the business of the nation guided by an equally sincere motive and an abundance of love for the people of this great country.
I want to make one thing abundantly clear. I am not interested in pointing fingers or laying blame on any side. There are some things which must take precedence over party and personalities.
Health is one of those things.
My modus operandi is to change direction where that is necessary given the global and local imperatives. I have no apologies to make about continuing with those programmes that are good in the interest of the people of Jamaica.
First of all, I would like to thank my extended family, the people of South East Clarendon, for giving me opportunity to serve as their representative in this Honourable House. The challenges are many in South East Clarendon. There is a lot of work to be accomplished. I give you my word, I will never leave you. I will not let you down.
I thank Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding for the faith he reposed in me by appointing me to this portfolio ministry. I applaud him for his insightful leadership of the country. I thank him for the continued support that he has given to the health and environment portfolios.
Mr. Speaker, I must also register my appreciation to Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Andre Franklin whose youthful energy has added vim, vigour and vitality to the political leadership of the Ministry.
I wish to publicly applaud the bureaucratic leadership of my Ministry, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Grace Allen-Young, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, Ms. Leonie Barnaby, the senior directorate and managers and every single member of staff at our corporate offices.
I salute the leadership and staff in the many agencies and departments that fall under the Ministry, including the Earthquake Unit, Meteorological Office, Real Estate Board, Registrar General’s Department, Health Corporation Limited, the National Environment and Planning Agency and National Health Fund.
Words cannot adequately express my appreciation to the Boards of the Regional Health Authorities, Regional Directors, Regional Technical Directors, CEOs of Hospitals, Senior Medical Officers and Matrons for their continued sterling contribution to the health of the nation.
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