Government has Preserved its Commitment – High Commissioner

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Burchell Whiteman, has said that despite the economic turmoil that has affected some of the island’s major sectors, including bauxite, the Government has preserved its commitment to keep secondary education and hospital care free.
Speaking at a meeting of UK-based Jamaicans, in Oldham, Mr. Whiteman said that the social safety net to support the poor and most vulnerable has also been expanded, while the income tax threshold has been increased.
The High Commissioner emphasised that the country is doing the best, in the face of the global economic crisis.
He told the audience that the island’s banking system has stood resolutely strong and assured that they could continue to have confidence in the sector.
Mr. Whiteman said that in order to create a stronger platform for the future, the country had to keep expenditure within manageable limits, noting that increasing the tax on petrol and mobile telephone services, would enable the country to depend less on borrowing to finance its programmes.
“We are doing not necessarily the popular things, but the things that will improve social stability. When you have a crisis, it is not enough to blame others, but it is important do something about it,” he said.
The High Commissioner, who was on an official visit to Manchester, was speaking at a special meeting of Jamaicans living in Oldham, to support a move to re- launch a Jamaican association in that northern Town.
“We have to work together, have dialogue (with each other), to see how we can become fully engaged. When we do not work together, we miss opportunities. We need to ensure that there is a strong Jamaican organisation to be involved in the social, educational, political and economic life of the country,” he said.
The High Commissioner told members of the audience that they were real heroes for moving to Britain, enduring great difficulties and hardship, but persevering and raising their families and bringing about positive changes to British society.

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