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KINGSTON — The House of Representatives approved the expenditures outlined in the 2011/2012 Budget on Tuesday.

Closing the debate, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, urged all Jamaicans to maintain a spirit of optimism.

“Without a sense of optimism, I could never have held fast to the belief that Jamaicans had a right to single-digit interest rates, and to have had the audacity to pursue them,” Mr. Shaw said.

“Optimism will inspire us to believe we can be prosperous again, and to work with missionary zeal to achieve it. Optimism is what makes our Economic Management Team envision a Jamaica with ‘developed country’ status, with champion growth rates, high-end jobs," Mr. Shaw stated.

He implored all Jamaicans to "catch the vision", and dream big.

“With big dreams and hard work we can turn this ship around– ahead of schedule and in fine-style. We owe it to ourselves to make the effort. All of us have a role to play,” Mr. Shaw said.

He appealed to sector leaders in the private, and public sectors, the church, and community-based organisations to establish committees and challenge their teams to brainstorm ways to fast-track Jamaica's way out of debt and into prosperity.

However, he pointed out that economic progress will mean nothing if values are left behind, and urged citizens to develop a plan of action in their communities, to tackle the problem of inappropriate behaviours in the society.

“I ask you to remember that not all the answers to 'a better life' are to be found in accounting journals and public expenditure. Some of our most valuable ‘line items’ are not in the Budget, they are to be found within our hearts……’line items' like decency, neighbourliness and setting a good example for our young people. These are the things that do not cost money or require additional fiscal space. Yet they are qualities that give dignity, and meaning, and richness to our lives and our national character,” the Finance Minister declared.

 

By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter