JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has stated that despite the setback caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan, the Government will do all it can to adhere to the macro economic targets set at the start of the 2004/2005 fiscal year. Mr. Patterson said the country had begun to see a take off in growth and investments prior to the hurricane and it was an encouraging sign that many of these investment projects still remained on track.
Mr. Patterson was speaking on Tuesday (Oct. 12) with newly appointed United Nations Resident Representative Mr. Juan Carlos Espinola, during a courtesy call at Jamaica House.
The Prime Minister said that while the hurricane caused significant damage in most sectors, housing was one of the areas worst affected.
He pointed out that the effect on the education sector resulting from the damage to schools and disruption of the education system was of great concern to the Government as this could adversely impact the achievement of the UN Millennium Goals.
“We see education and poverty alleviation and the attainment of the Millennium Goals as so essentially interlinked, that we recognise the extent to which the setback in education could affect the medium to long term goals for sustained growth,” Mr. Patterson said.
Pointing to the fact that natural disasters are a part of the Caribbean reality, Mr. Patterson said the region would have to develop the capacity to respond to disasters, which should involve increasing the technical expertise available in the region.
In his remarks, Mr. Espinola said the UN was working closely with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Office of National Reconstruction in the development of a programme of assistance for the rebuilding process after the assessment has been completed. He said also that the UN had a particular interest in developing a risk management programme for the future, to better help countries prepare for and manage disasters.

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