- The Governor-General said the country is at a critical crossroads in its development
- The Governor-General said the nation needs to free itself from the “corrosive tribalism
- PFJ is a critical point in the nation’s history
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is hoping that the signing of Jamaica’s first ever social partnership agreement will be the start of the transformation, which will propel the country towards the achievement of Vision 2030, even sooner than envisioned.
In throwing his full support behind the Partnership For Jamaica (PFJ) Agreement, which was signed at King’s House on July 31, the Governor-General said the country is at a critical crossroads in its development and tough decisions have to be made and effectively implemented, in order to grow the economy.
“This is a time for building bridges of mutual trust and understanding; a time for sacrifices to be made by all, for the common good; a time for genuine co-operation which seeks no political advantage; a time for respectful debate and open communication; and a time for people-centred strategies, which will fuel Jamaica’s development,” he emphasized.
The Governor-General said the nation needs to free itself from the “corrosive tribalism which has impeded a unified, co-ordinated attack on our engrained socio-economic problems.”
“We must liberate ourselves from the slavery to poor work ethics, corrupt practices and the tendency to tear down, rather than uplift each other. Our leaders, in all sectors, must liberate the genius which is within them to craft and implement policies and programmes for the long-term good of the country, regardless of the impact on the ballot box, membership loyalty, or the short-term bottom line,” he said.
He noted that the partnership agreement calls for all this and more, noting that during the long years of negotiation, each stakeholder must have come to a full understanding of the root causes of the problems which Jamaica faces.
“You have therefore come to this point with your eyes wide-open to the negative attitudes and practices which have slowed our progress and now threaten our stability,” the Governor-General said.
He pointed out that Jamaicans need to believe that there is a genuine commitment to abide by the provisions of the Partnership Agreement. “All Jamaicans must soon begin to see a positive change in the way the Partners interact with each other and in their accountability to the people of Jamaica. Otherwise, alienation, cynicism and mistrust of leadership will deepen,” he said.
In the meantime, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, also emphasised that the signing of the PFJ is a critical point in the nation’s history.
“I know that the persons and bodies involved dreamt of the day when the leadership of all the major sectors in our society would come together and show to Jamaica and the world, the power of unity in action. I have always believed in Jamaica’s vision to be a great country. Now is the time for all of us who share that vision to demonstrate what we say, what we do and most importantly, how relate to each other,” Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasised.
“The National Partnership Council has a code of conduct to guide us in our transaction, and I am confident that in operating with this partnership body, we can turn our vision into reality,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the Government and members of the Partnership Council will keep the public informed and make direct communication through town hall meetings.
“We will continue to inform ourselves about the progress in achieving the targets we have agreed on and to hold each other accountable for our part in the process. We will continue to bring our collective expertise and experience to improving the implementation of those programmes which impact national targets; and we will communicate with our respective constituent groups,” the Prime Minister said.
Under the Partnership for Jamaica Agreement, which was signed by the Government, Trade Unions, Private Sector Organisations and Civil Society Groups, there is a reaffirmation and recommitment to the principles of social dialogue and partnership; as well as a resolve to embark on a programme for Jamaica’s stabilization, growth with equity and sustainable development, through a social partnership, initially over the period 2013-2016.
Priority areas of focus for the first three years include fiscal consolidation (with social protection and inclusion); adherence to the rule of law (and timely justice outcomes); ease of doing business and employment creation; and energy diversification and conservation.