PM Miller: Good Progress made in First 100 Days


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stated that good and steady progress have been made during her Administration's first one hundred days in office.

In a statement from Cartagena, Columbia where the Prime Minister is participating in the 6th Summit of the Americas, Mrs Simpson Miller said that, 'although I know that one hundred days is an extremely short time in the life of any Government, I am confident that any objective and balanced assessment of the Government’s performance would conclude that indeed, much has been done'.

In support of her position, the Prime Minister highlighted a number of her Government's achievements. These included:

 

THE ECONOMY

Having acquainted itself with the economic situation and the limited options, one of the first orders of business of the new administration was to:

Put forward the Government’s position for a new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recognizing the IMF will play some role in our future, at least in the short to medium term

·         Conclude the Article IV Consultation

·         Set the stage for discussions that will culminate with a possible country programme to commence during the Spring Meetings of the Fund, scheduled for April 20–22, in Washington, D.C.

·         Agree on the broad economic framework: fiscal deficit and debt management, tax and pension reforms, divestment of loss-making public sector enterprises, rationalization and elimination of tax waivers, containment of the public sector wage bill and related costs, implementation of measures to facilitate businesses and sustainable economic growth strategy with job creation and social protection for the most vulnerable in our society

·         Strengthen the national economic team by establishing an Economic Council consisting of three distinguished Jamaican professionals who bring to the table years of experience and technical expertise

 

SECURITY

Although the challenges in the area of national security continue:

·         March ended with the lowest murder count for any single month in the last nine years

·         There has been a decline in sexual offences: rape is down by 24%  and carnal abuse by 51%

·         More firearms have been taken off the streets and from criminal hands:138 illegal firearms recovered compared to 122 for the similar period last year

·         The draft of the Organised/Anti-Gang legislation is now ready and is being reviewed. A $16 million anti gang campaign commenced

·         The DNA Bill is now with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel

·         Additional resources — motor vehicles, ballistic vests, tactical uniforms, motorbikes have been provided to the JCF

 

ENERGY

Jamaicans are burdened with the high cost of energy whether for business, or residential use. Reducing the cost of energy remains a priority objective.

·         Transformation of the energy sector to bring more players and achieve greater efficiencies and reduce costs to consumers is underway, including inter-connectivity arrangement with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), to allow those able to generate and supply consumers directly to do so

·         Discussions re-opened with Trinidad and Tobago for the sourcing of LNG as we remain committed to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and intend to adhere to the 2014 deadline for completing the required facilities for its successful implementation

·         Establish the National Energy Council

 

TOURISM

·         The Resort Upgrading and Beautification Programme saw the completion and reopening of the Lovers Leap attraction

·         Resort beautification and upgrading projects were implemented in Ocho Rios, Falmouth, Montego Bay and the South Coast

·         150 million dollars have been allocated to employment-generating projects under Phase 1 of the Tourism Improvement Projects (TIP) which is supporting the national job creation objective. Projects identified under this programme include: South Coast Cleanup; Agualta Vale Roundabout; Hollywell; Hope Zoo; Mandela Highway-Spanish Town Bypass; Old Harbour Roundabout

·         Airlift contract negotiations have been entered into once again with Aeroflot in Russia one of the emerging markets currently being targeted

 

JEEP

·         To boost the job opportunities, the first phase of the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme – JEEP, was rolled out. The government has been able to identify some funds, without increasing the debt, to provide employment for 5,000 Jamaicans, approximately 1,200 of whom have already gained employment

·         Another 85 have been trained and placed in education and  an additional 200 persons are being trained under the Ministry of Youth and Culture to be certified in events coordination, lighting, stage management and production in keeping with the thrust to promote the cultural industries

 

HEALTH

·         Vehicles valued at approximately $12 million were handed over to the four regional authorities, as part of efforts to enhance the Vector Control Programme

·         The cobalt machines at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) used to administer radiotherapy to cancer patients are back in service

·         A two-year Technical Services Agreement was signed with Cuba which will provide almost 500 health professionals — doctors, nurses, nursing tutors, physiotherapists, cytotechnologists, dieticians, and medical technologists,  to support health services delivery

 

AGRICULTURE

·         Production projects launched in ginger and turmeric -150 acres of additional ginger and 350 acres of turmeric, engaging over 360 ginger and turmeric farmers

·         An additional 450 persons will be engaged in the ginger and turmeric projects as unskilled labour

·         Cocoa Production has also been resuscitated to help re-engineer our rural economy through agro-processing, eco-tourism and entrepreneurship. These projects will entail the propagation of 200,000 high-producing grafted seedlings which will be able to plant out 500 new acres of cocoa

 

YOUTH & CULTURE

·         NYS trained 815 youths in business administration and deployed them to schools and other public bodies as support personnel

·         Revision of National Cultural Policy has started with a target completion date of June

·         Consultations have began on the way forward for amendments to the Noise Abatement Act & Entertainment Zones

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

·         Full Ministry status was restored to Local Government and Community Development

·         Work on re-build the vibrancy of Parish Development Committees (PDCs) and Community Development Councils (CDCs)

·         Three pieces of legislation — the Local Governance Act, the Local Government Financing and Financial Management Act, and the Human Resource Management Act are on fast track to ensure completion within the 50th year of our independence

 

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION

·         Expanded the scope of the weekly Jamaica House Briefing

·         Review of the Access to Information Act and recommendations made to reduce the number of ‘exempt categories” in order to allow members of the public more access to Government information

·         Momentum to successful switchover to digital by 2015 has started

·         Monthly meetings of government communicators across all the Ministries and agencies to effect open and transparent communication of government information

 

JAMAICA 50

Realistic Jamaica 50 Programme developed and now on fast track implementation

 

EDUCATION

·         Brokered agreement for the construction of fifty (50) infant schools with Food for the Poor and signed agreement with the Chinese Government to construct five Infant Schools

·         Re-directed $300 million from other Ministry programmes to allow for the increased funding for the Early Childhood Sector

·         Re-organized the School Feeding Programme to provide greater assistance to basic schools and to introduce a breakfast programme

·         Established portal to facilitate public being able to ask questions directly to the Minister www.asktheminister.moe.gov.jm.

·         Finalised plans for Civics in Schools, the teachings of Marcus Garvey and Respect Agenda – a programme of values and attitude

·         Secured Fifty Jubilee Scholarships with PetroCaribe Fund

·         Reviewed of GSAT formally implemented

·         Partnership with the Jamaican German Automotive School and JUTC for students to repair public buses

·         Commenced survey of “school gate food”, food sold in tuck shops on premises or outside schools gates to be assessed for nutrition, price and food safety

 

SCIENCE & ICT

·         Implemented aggressive targeting of investment in information communication technology (ICT) sector

·         Reactivated the National Commission on Science and Technology (NCST) and the national awards programme in science and technology (S&T) innovation

 

JUSTICE

·         A major step in the Justice Reform Implementation Unit with recruitment of a Director (retired judge from Canada) and Deputy Director (a Jamaican)

·         Four Restorative Justice Offices started in pilot communities of:

•                  Tower Hill in Saint Andrew

•                  Spanish Town in Saint Catherine

•                  May Pen in Clarendon

•                  Granville in Saint James

·         Establishment of “Designated Authority” to bring into effect the Protected Disclosure (Whistleblower) Act passed in 2011

·         Drafting instructions issued for the establishment of legislation to give power to Judges of the Supreme Court to make orders for interim payment, in such circumstances as may be specified in the Rules of the Court

·         Appointed Day Order for the Caribbean Court of Justice (Original Jurisdiction) Act 2005 (Appointed Day Notice), thereby recognising under Jamaican law the jurisdiction of the CCJ in adjudicating disputes arising under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas

·         Complete reparatory legal research to identify the appropriate legislative approach to be taken in amending the Constitution to adopt the CCJ as Jamaica’s final court of appeal and for Jamaica to become a republic within the Commonwealth, in keeping with the recommendations arising from the constitutional review process which took place in the 1990s

 

INDUSTRY & INVESTMENT

·         Prepared roadmap outlining a ten-point strategy to facilitate and stimulate investment, commerce and employment to modernize and enhance the competitiveness of local industries

·         Key projects for growth in areas of tourism, shipping and logistics and infrastructure development identified

·         Successfully staged the Jamaica Investment Forum in March which attracted over 380 participants, 109 of whom were international investors in the areas of Manufacturing, Mining and Energy, ICT, Finance and Infrastructure development.  Commitments were made to enhancing the investment and business environment for both domestic and foreign investors and to facilitate the various investments leads that were brought to the Forum for action

·         Successfully negotiated along with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) for use of the prestigious O2 Venue in London as the official Jamaica promotional and marketing site for the showcasing the country – its products, services and personalities during the 2012 Olympic Games

·         Signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indian Small Business Development Agency for the provision of technical assistance and capacity building in the areas of business development, technology and innovation for the MSME Sector

·         Stablished of business regulatory offices in Western Jamaica

During the period also, much work was done in restoring Jamaica’s good name in the international community through targeted contacts, support and meetings with world leaders, members of the diplomatic community, international organisations and our international development partners.

The Prime Minister was quick to point out, that these achievements could not have been accomplished within the first one hundred days, if it were not for the overwhelming mandate given to the Government by the people of Jamaica, for which she and her colleagues will be forever grateful.

She also stated that the Government will continue to be open and transparent as it goes about its mandate.

Mrs Simpson Miller once again reminded the society that with the national and local government elections behind us, we must now settle down and focus on doing everything to improve the lives of our people, and by extension our country.

 

Contact:    Communications Unit-OPM

Tel:               926-0244

Fax:              920-4684                                       

Email:           opm.news@opm.gov.jm

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