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Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, James Robertson has said that it is imperative that the country pursues a policy of enlightened development planning covering a number of critical issues, which have implications for economic growth.
These, he said, include global warming and its consequent effects on the environment, coastal management, energy conservation, agriculture, land and human shelter policy.
Mr. Robertson was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, today (July 9).
He said that the country must get used to globalization, as it is irreversible, and find means of not only coping with it, but also exploiting the opportunities presented by it. He noted that there are aspects of globalization that are negatively impacting the economy presently, such as rising oil prices and the food crisis, which are affecting most nations, developed and developing.
“Of equal importance also is the fact that Jamaica is a small island state with substantial levels of economic dependence on natural resources. These natural resources that we are blessed with are themselves subject to hazards such as hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and other natural challenges,” he said.
Mr. Robertson pointed out that it is the Government’s belief that, “we need to develop structured institutional and organizational management mechanisms, which can anticipate and manage these challenges.”
It is within this context, he said, that the government, led by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, had embraced Vision 2030, a 22-year national development plan geared at positioning the country to achieve developed country status by the year 2030.
“This is something that we are committed to and intend to see that the plan is adhered to, and achieved, under our watch. Our embracing the 2030 vision, as developed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, shows that we believe in the principle of continuity. We do not subscribe to the view that there needs to be the disruption of a good plan for the country, simply because we have had a change of administration. We have to come to the maturity in this country where we put Jamaica’s interests first and where we, as leaders, and as a society, agree on certain fundamentals and galvanize the nation’s energies toward those priorities,” he emphasised.
The Minister further noted that the PIOJ is facilitating a comprehensive consultative process, which would involve broad-based support across every strata of the society, incorporating support particularly among private sector groups, civil society and the Diaspora.
“We will position Jamaicans at the centre of the policy formulation process, fostering their full engagement and buy-in to achieve effective and timely implementation,” he told the House.