JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has stated that despite the passage of Hurricane Ivan the economy grew by just under two percent last year and was on a path of unprecedented expansion largely due to the government’s marco-economic policies, infrastructure development and modernization as well as the implementation of programmes to improve the ease with which investors do business in Jamaica.
The Prime Minister was addressing members of the Diplomatic Corps at a meeting held at Jamaica House on Tuesday (Jan. 25), as part of activities to mark the observance of Diplomatic Week.
He said significant advances have been made in raising the levels of production in tourism, mining and the construction sectors, while agriculture was now showing visible signs of recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan. Among the indicators of stability identified by the Prime Minister were the Memorandum of Understanding with public sector workers which he said was holding its own despite some strain, as well as the Net International Reserves (NIR) which now stands at US$1.8 Billion, exceeding the original target of US$1.29 Billion by March 31, 2005.
He said the government remained determined in its resolve to provide a balanced budget in fiscal year 2005/2006 and noted that not only was the country’s current account deficit improving, but that International Rating Agencies have also upgraded their outlook of Jamaica’s debt from negative to stable.
The Prime Minister said the government remained deeply concerned about the untenable situation relating to crime and violence, but noted that all the available effort and resources were being applied to bring the situation under control. He pointed to the launch of Operation Kingfish and the change of command in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, but stressed that these measures on their own could not eliminate crime and violence but would require the effort of the whole country.
He said the government had commissioned a comprehensive review of the entire education system and that the transformation of education was a necessary step in the development of human capital and the skills required for Jamaica to compete in the global economy. He said the implementation phase would begin shortly with the appointment of a special team to drive the transformation process.

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