JIS News

Governor-General His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke has said in light of changing times there is increased urgency for greater cooperation and communication among Jamaicans in all quarters as well as with the Caribbean Community and international partners.
In this, he said, Jamaica was engaged in a review of the overall strategy and approach in the three negotiating theatres in which the country was presently engaged and the Economic Pact Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the European Union and CARICOM Countries will be launched here in Kingston on Friday, April 16.
He further noted that it was through efforts at expanding cooperation with bilateral partners and international organizations that much needed assistance was secured for national development priorities including: poverty eradication, crime fighting, the control of HIV/AIDS and the war on drugs, arms and terrorism.
The Governor-General was delivering the Throne Speech today (March 31) at Gordon House in Kingston, signaling the start of a new legislative year.
“As the global challenges and complexities increase so does the need for us to have shared understandings among ourselves at home and with our fellowmen and women in the Diaspora,” he told the House; adding that during the year Jamaicans overseas will be engaged in dialogue on matters of trade, tourism, their political influence on the policies in the countries and states where they reside and on shared understanding and commitment to Jamaica’s own national goals and current policies.
Continuing, he said, efforts would be geared toward developing local consensus on matters of major and increasingly urgent importance such as: Energy, including its sources, cost and conservation; the Caribbean Single Market and Economy for which Jamaica is to be fully prepared by the end of the 2004 calendar year; the potential of the current Telecommunications Policy and the creation of a fully developed electronic commerce system and the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“All these issues affect our future in terms of our ability to grow our economy within the region, the hemisphere and in the wider world,” the Governor-General stressed.
He, however, pointed out that Jamaica had passed laws, signed international agreements and implemented policies, which clearly demonstrated its ability to protect national interests, using the opportunity to challenge both parties to avoid focusing on the ‘dividing lines but on the magnitude of the task’ set before them inclusive of the meeting to the Millennium Development Goals for 2015. He further urged them to consolidate in a bid to meet expectations and effect change.
Meanwhile the Estimates of Expenditure in which the budget allocations for the fiscal year will be set out is to be tabled today by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies in the House. The Standing Finance Committee will deliberate on the Estimates from April 6-8.
The Finance Minister will also open the Budget Debate on April 15 while Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw will make his presentation on April 20.
Leader of the Opposition, Edward Seaga is scheduled to contribute to the Budget Debate on April 22 and Prime Minister P.J. Patterson on April 27. The Finance Minister will close the debate on April 28. This year’s Throne Speech was presented under the theme: “One Vision, One People: A Strong Jamaica”.

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