JIS News

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes, is optimistic that progress can be made with the social partnership discussions, to carry Jamaica through the challenges it currently faces, consequent on the impact of the global recession.
Speaking at the Institute’s quarterly media briefing, held at the offices on Oxford Road in Kingston on May 18, Dr. Hughes said that while there is a “little bump in the road” regarding the talks, he contended that the process is not “irretrievable.”
“One should not be surprised, as we are in a stressful period. It’s a very difficult period for every single player, and in making judgements and decisions, we are going to have these bumps. I think we can make progress, but it’s going to require a lot of negotiations, skill, leadership and judgement,” the PIOJ head contended.
Dr. Hughes argued that while stakeholders may have varying and differing views in the discussions to advance the social partnership, in the final analysis, those persons have demonstrated that the national interest is of foremost importance.
“People may have different perspectives, they may have a different view about how you should get there. But, at the end of the day, I get the impression that all the parties have Jamaica’s national interest at heart. You may not necessarily agree with everything everybody says. But I think that, as a society, given all that I have seen, and all the potential for social implosion or instability, we have made remarkably good progress in holding it together,” he said.
The Social Partnership process entails consultations involving the Government, private sector, trade unions, and the Opposition, aimed at reaching consensus around strategic objectives impacting the country.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hughes expressed optimism that “definite” signs of stabilisation in, and a turnaround of the global economy, should become apparent by year end. This, he explained, is based on what he said is a gradual diminishing of the stockpiled inventory levels within a number of the sectors, “probably ahead of demand.”
“So, you’ll see some production reviving. The problem, however, is that we are not sure what kind of recovery it’s going to be,” Dr. Hughes said, while stressing the need for Jamaica to prepare for this global economic revival.

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