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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, opened the lines of communication with Jamaicans in a way that has never been done before, with the launch of a one-hour radio call-in programme, Jamaica House Live, on January 30.
So popular is the programme, that it has been extended to one and a half hours.
The programme is part of the Government’s thrust to interact with the public, and to hear suggestions, comments and general feedback from Jamaicans, at home and abroad. Additionally, it provides a forum for Government to report on its stewardship, in implementing policies and programmes to improve the lives of the citizens.
Through the programme, which has been well-received, the Prime Minister has spoken to a number of issues, and reiterated his focus on the training and development of the country’s human resources, job creation, and investments, as the planks for bringing about growth in the economy.
He has discussed the issue of crime, emphasising that it is the first priority of the Government. “We cannot deal with just the symptoms of crime. We have a new Commissioner of Police and a new Chief of Defence Staff and they are pursuing this matter very vigilantly and very diligently,” he stated.
Mr. Golding also underscored the importance of technology in the sustenance and advancement of the local agricultural sector to world class standards.
Responding to a question raised by a caller, he said that, “if farming is going to be around in 10 years’ time, then we are going to have to improve the technology. We will be introducing some new technologies. It is what is called protected agricultural technology, which refers to things like greenhouses, hydroponics, and so on.”
The Prime Minister also disclosed that the Government is considering expanding the existing Inmate Public Work programme, which utilises the labour of incarcerated persons, to carry out public works projects.
Responding to a suggestion that inmates be utilised more in this regard, Mr. Golding disclosed that the matter had been discussed at a meeting of the National Security Council, which he attended.
“Some work, pertaining to inmate labour, is being done already. I was told about a variety of projects that prison labour is being used on. But, I want to get them in the Sandy Gully, for example, to go and start cleaning out some of the pile up there. I also want to get them on our sidewalks, cleaning out drains. Naturally, we are going to have to consign this to those who are, for want of a better word, ‘controllable’, as we don’t want to take out high risk people, and risk them escaping and causing mayhem,” Mr. Golding outlined.
Meanwhile, as commodity prices increased due to rising oil prices, Prime Minister Golding said that the Government would explore targeted relief intervention measures, to ensure that persons in need are the ones who benefit.
In reference to the $500 million commodities subsidy provided by the Government last year, to cushion the rising prices of certain goods, Mr. Golding said the administration had come under criticism because of the way in which the subsidy had been provided.
Mr. Golding in February, informed of plans for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, and Port Royal. “We will be looking at the possibility of a cruise shipping port being established there and re-creating the tradition of the rich culture of Port Royal. We want that city to come alive again,” Mr. Golding said on the radio programme.
The Prime Minister also noted that other plans for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, include the renovation of Sir William Grant Park and the construction of a new Transport Centre.
Jamaica House Live, is aired on the last Wednesday of each month, between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on several radio stations, including RJR 94 FM, Nationwide Radio Digital AM; Love 101 FM; Hot 102; KLAS FM and Roots FM.
Audio streaming of the call-in programme is provided on the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) website at www.jis.gov.jm.
The call-in programme is developed and produced by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports and JIS.