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Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) President, Audrey Hinchcliffe, while expressing disappointment at the delay in the signing of the Partnership for Progress, said that her organization was heartened by the fact that in another couple of months, there would be a return to the table for discussions.
Mrs. Hinchcliffe, who was the guest speaker at the launch of ‘Western Expo 2005’ at the Sunset Beach Hotel in Montego Bay yesterday (Aug. 31), said it would be in the best interest of all concerned for some form of agreement to be reached.
She expressed the view, that Jamaicans were living at the crossroads “between what could turn out to be the greatest sustained economic transformation that the country has ever experienced, and what could alternatively become the most significant opportunity that the country has ever missed”.
The Partnership for Progress is a tripartite agreement for social progress involving government, employers and trade unions and is modeled on the Republic of Ireland’s ‘Programme for National Recovery’.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was scheduled to be signed on August 18, but the unions backed out at the last minute, calling for a technical review of the public sector MoU.
Mrs. Hinchcliffe noted that the JEF was “not overly upset about the fact that it wasn’t signed, because one has to understand that there were so many things going on at the same time, that a MOU became a bad word”.
She said that subsequent meetings have been held with all parties concerned and a “fairly decent explanation” was given as to why it was not appropriate to go through with the signing at the time.
Meanwhile, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Kerr-Jarrett, added that his organization fully supported the move towards the Partnership for Progress.
“We are part of that partnership with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the JEF and their leaders, to create an atmosphere in which we can all take responsibility for our nation and its condition, and work collectively towards total and complete success for Jamaica and Jamaicans”, he stated.