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    Story Highlights

    • We meet this morning to recognise, celebrate and solidify the special relationship that exists between the Government of Jamaica and the European Union.
    • The EU-Jamaica relationship has remained strong over many years, as the European Union has established itself and its track record as the largest provider of grant resources to Jamaica.
    • The Government continues to be grateful to the EU for extending a helping hand in the aftermath of natural disasters.

    Remarks by the Prime Minister, Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller ON, MP

    At EU/GOJ Signing Ceremony, Jamaica House

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

     

    Salutations

    • Dr The Honourable Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance and Planning
    • The Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change
    • The Honourable Derrick Kellier, Minister of Agriculture, Labour & Social Security
    • Her Excellency Mrs Paola Amadei, Head of Delegation, European Union Delegation to Jamaica
    • Excellencies representing Members States of the European Union
    • Other Members of the Diplomatic Corps
    • Permanent Secretaries
    • Distinguished Guests
    • Members of the Media

     

    Good Morning.

     

    We meet this morning to recognise, celebrate and solidify the special relationship that exists between the Government of Jamaica and the European Union.

    The EU-Jamaica relationship has remained strong over many years, as the European Union has established itself and its track record as the largest provider of grant resources to Jamaica.

    The EU’s contributions to the many facets of Jamaica’s development go beyond European Development Fund (EDF) programme activities.

    I want to make special mention of the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries facility, which has been a major source of support to the Agricultural Sector over many years. The EU’s assistance has been special in enabling the Government to present keys to sugar workers as we remove them from sugar barracks to being owners of a piece of the Jamaican rock.

    The EU has been a significant partner in our ongoing efforts to transform the sugar industry in Jamaica.

    At the same time, the Special Framework of Assistance for the Banana Support Programme has been a major source of help to banana farmers and former banana growers, as we diversify our agricultural produce in light of changing international realities.

    The Government continues to be grateful to the EU for extending a helping hand in the aftermath of natural disasters.

    In recent times, the Tropical Storm Gustav and Tropical Storm Nicole Rehabilitation assistance programmes have been most helpful to our national recovery efforts.

    I am particularly thankful for the EU’s partnership under succeeding EDFs, including the 10th Fund, to advance the Poverty Reduction Programme of the Government of Jamaica.

    Other areas of national and community life in Jamaica which have benefited from EU support and funding have included Education, Human Rights Awareness, Macroeconomic Support including Debt Reduction, Security, Rural Development, Technical Cooperation and other socio-economic initiatives.

    It is significant that this 11th EDF ceremonial signing, to endorse the Programme signing which took place in Brussels in September, is taking place on the eve of the 2015 observance of 40 years of development partnership between Jamaica and the EU.

    I am delighted that we are activating Jamaica’s National Indicative Programme for the 11th EDF at a value of 46 Million Euros for the next six years.

    The national programme has benefited from consultations with a wide cross section of stakeholders which included Government Ministries and Agencies, the private sector, Parliamentarians, non-governmental organisations and international development partners.

    Among the receiving sectors, Justice has been allocated the largest share of the funding accounting for 50 per cent of the allocation or 23 Million Euros.

    Importantly, this allocation builds on previous funding of activities to improve justice and governance.

    In this regard, the EU is providing further support to the Government’s objective of ensuring that “the Jamaican society is secure, cohesive and just.”

    This is important in advancing gender-responsive, accountable and effective justice services, especially for vulnerable groups.

    Under this umbrella, the Government’s ongoing programme to improve conditions for the treatment of children in the justice system, will be receiving more financial support.

    We are committed to:

    –          Improving conditions in detention

    –          Reviewing the conditions in lockups because people, no matter, who they are, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect

    –          Creating better access to justice services at the community level…

    –          Improving efficiency in the justice process through better technology and infrastructure; and

    –          Treating children in conflict with the law according to established national standards and in keeping with Jamaica’s international obligations.

    Children should be bought up and treated with love.

    Under this 11th EDF, Environment and Climate change initiatives will come in for renewed focus with an allocation of 33 per cent of the available funding or 15.25 Million Euros.

    Jamaica stands among the countries in the world which have been most forward-thinking and decisive in our environmental planning and management, and in planning for the prevention and mitigation of the negative effects of climate change.

    Among the results we are expecting from collaboration with the EU in this area, are:

    –          Greater effectiveness in environmental planning and monitoring

    –          Better management of natural resources and the environment in general

    –          Enabling  more vulnerable groups to benefit from sustainable development initiatives; and

    –          Reduced damage and loss due to climate-related hazards.

    Public financial management and support to civil society are other areas designated for funding and support under the 11th EDF.

    I want to use this opportunity to place on record the appreciation of the Government of Jamaica for the EU having increased the initial amounts budgeted for Jamaica under the previous 10th EDF.

    This was largely as a result of needs arising from hurricanes and income reduction in exports during the global financial crisis.

    I view this ongoing partnership with the EU as critical support for Jamaica’s growth agenda.

    We are working to increase the pace of the growth that has started in the economy.

    We recognise that a greater level of growth in Jamaica is connected to Jamaica’s competiveness in the global economy.

    We are embarked on the mission of improving productivity and competitiveness with encouraging results so far, as seen in the country’s substantial improvement in global ranking.

    In remaining disciplined in pursuit of the Economic Reform Programme, we are resolute that growth must be accompanied by jobs and increased opportunities for the creation of new businesses.

    Growth must be inclusive: we are not leaving behind any sector or group as we advance to a more prosperous future for our country.

    As we thank the EU for its continued support, we continue to be responsive to unfolding national realities as we implement the Medium Term Socio-economic Policy Framework in a spirit of true and mutually respectful collaboration with our international partners.

    Again, we thank our EU partners and we commit to playing our part for the timely and efficient implementation of these vital programmes to 2020.

    I wish to recognize the member states of the European Union and ask their representatives to stand as we hail you in the name of partnership and progress.

    When I see the smiles on your faces at each event at which you represent your countries, I see commitment, partnership and friendship.

    When I see the smiles on the faces of the persons whose lives are changed for the better through the various programmes, I see your pride and satisfaction.

    Together, we know that all the efforts made to improve the lives of our peopleare worth it.

    Again I thank you and pray God’s blessing on this partnership.

    -end-

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