Government Making Strides in Reducing Poverty


Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill, has said that the government has made strides in reducing poverty and improving the condition of ordinary Jamaicans.
The Minister, who was addressing a Lions Club of Kingston luncheon yesterday (Sept. 6) at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, cited statistics from the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Survey of Living Conditions, which showed that poverty had declined from 34 per cent in 1992, to 14.8 per cent in 2006.
In addition, the 2005 Human Development Report (HDR), which is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ranks Jamaica 21 out of 103 developing countries on the Human Development Index.
Jamaica is one of five CARICOM countries ranked in the top 30 by the Index, which measures deprivations in three basic dimensions of human development, namely, long and healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
“The HDR states that less than two per cent of Jamaicans live on less than US$1 a day. We have outranked five of the 22 developing countries that are listed as having achieved high human development, namely Trinidad and Tobago at 12.4 per cent, Panama at 7.2 per cent, Mexico at 9.9 percent, Argentina at 3.3 per cent and Costa Rica at 2.0 per cent,” said Mr. Pickersgill.
He further noted achievements in education, health, information and communications technology, physical and social infrastructure including roads and ports and the provision of water and housing. “As far as the provision of water is concerned, some 93 per cent of Jamaicans have access to an improved water source according to the HDR,” Minister Pickersgill stated.
He indicated that the government would continue to pursue an aggressive programme of public sector investment across all areas of the economy, “in keeping with the intentions of the National Industrial Policy to chart a course for a more prosperous economic future, and to increase the momentum of growth and development to take the country into the 21st Century.”
Meanwhile, he pointed to the need for partnerships to achieve sustained prosperity.
“The Jamaican people must be prepared to partner with their government that is formulating the policies, and creating the transformation in the physical and social infrastructure sometimes against formidable opposition and persistent controversy,” he stated.
He lauded organized groups, such as the Lions Club of Kingston, for reaching out to isolated communities. “Your work has an economic value and is important to us in government, as we move to identify those pockets of communities that are hard to reach and that find it difficult, because of one reason or another, to access basic public services,” he said.

JIS Social