Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is calling on all sectors of society to join forces to aid in rebuilding and bolstering the economy, in the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) period.
“We must not only rebuild what we have lost; every Jamaican, every entrepreneur, every civil servant, every business, and every government agency must build forward…stronger together,” he said, while delivering the Throne Speech at the ceremonial opening of Parliament, on Thursday (February 18).
The Governor-General said persons must “embrace reform with ambition”, noting that the goal cannot simply be to return Jamaica to its pre-COVID-19 reality but to go beyond this “and emerge economically and socially stronger by addressing fundamental gaps that have been exposed and exploiting opportunities that arise”.
He pointed out that the recommendations of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force, appointed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, to help chart Jamaica’s economic recovery from the fallout and devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, “will be our guide to emerging stronger and better than before”.
The Task Force recommended several policies and initiatives, including greater focus and shift of capital expenditure towards activities that maximise local value-added; accelerated capital investment in public health capacity to serve the daily healthcare needs of the population and respond to crises, thereby ensuring resilience; and accelerated investment in the public education infrastructure and skills training, with greater focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The body has also advised of increased public investment in technology and broadband connectivity; expansion of the social safety net, while at the same time ensuring its efficiency and transparency; and reconfiguration and diversification of the Jamaican economy by supporting the creation of new industries and strengthening local linkages.
“Notwithstanding setbacks caused by the pandemic, we must recommit to our 2030 vision and summon our energies, talents and resources as we march forward to achieve it. We must never lose focus on creating a safer and more caring society where all can achieve their true potential,” the Governor-General said.
The Governor-General delivered the Throne Speech under the theme ‘Building Forward…Stronger Together’.