JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government remains committed to the protection of the most vulnerable in the country, and takes full responsibility for the measures that have been put in place to correct the economy.
  • The size of the budget deficit and the level of indebtedness of the country are two glaring areas that demanded immediate reform.
  • The Prime Minister highlighted some projects which the Government is confident will foster hope and lead to economic growth in the country, including planned improvements for the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay; the North South link of Highway 2000; and development of the proposed Logistics Hub Initiative.

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says the Government remains committed to the protection of the most vulnerable in the country, and takes full responsibility for the measures that have been put in place to correct the economy.

The Prime Minister was speaking at an Economic Reform Programme (ERP) Stakeholders  Conference for the County of Cornwall, held in the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, St. James, on February 28.

It was held under the theme: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Reform Programme, going for growth, staying the course, transforming the economy’.

Mrs. Simpson Miller  explained that the size of the budget deficit and the level of indebtedness of the country were two glaring areas that demanded immediate reform.

She said those two economic indicators threatened to totally undermine the economy and social stability, unless they were addressed frontally.

“It was for that reason why my administration had no option but to embark on the ERP,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the multi-lateral financial institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have featured prominently in its development.

“The stark reality is, however, that even without the involvement of these institutions, there was a clear need for changes to the way in which we have carried on the business of government,”  she said.

The Prime Minister  highlighted  some projects  which  the Government is confident  will foster hope  and lead to economic growth in the country, including planned improvements for the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay; the North South link of Highway 2000;  and development of the proposed Logistics Hub Initiative.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said the County of Cornwall conference, organized by the Ministry of Finance, is a welcomed initiative for several reasons.

She pointed out that holding the conference in western Jamaica represented one small step of  having discussions on national issues outside of  Kingston,  and that the tourism sector remains the major foreign exchange earner, as well as a significant employer of labour.

The Prime Minister said given that elements of the reform programme will impact the tourism sector, it is only logical that the administration should seek to benefit from the points of view of stakeholders in that part of the country.

“It is only through such interactions that we, the policy makers, can be properly informed as to the impact of various elements of the reform agenda on the population,” she argued.

Meanwhile, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer,  explained that the conference is one of several major fora  organized by the government, aimed at updating the nation on the  ERP.

She said the  event was a follow-up to similar stakeholder conferences held last year in the counties of Middlesex and Surrey.

Other presenters at the conference were: Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips; Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill; and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke.