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There is a new feeling of hope that is rising over this beautiful land of Jamaica. It is being talked about in the hills, valleys and plains across our country.
Seniors, men and women, youth and children are expressing great expectations for the future of this nation.
Today, you have the opportunity to capitalize on that hope and great expectation by serving the people of Jamaica. I speak of service as a noble endeavour to be approached with the deepest sense of humility and mildness.
I give you a charge to help me serve this country not to be masters over the people.
Our job is a difficult one. We need every single Jamaican on board to help us achieve the vision of a peaceful and prosperous country. We have lost our collective soul.
We are in danger of losing every single value that has been the foundation of our country.
The traditional communities of influence must be brought back to the sphere of influence. The family, church, community and school were at one time the pillars upon which we built our country.
I intend to use the resources of the state to strengthen these pillars and empower those of our people who are less privileged. We need to help them to do more to lift themselves up from their present station in life and to be the best that they can be.
We cannot build our country if our people are living in fear and sadness. We cannot persuade Jamaicans to invest in their own country, if, as a Government, we do not demonstrate that we have a genuine desire to create wealth for every one of our citizens.
We want the strong institutions in our country to help the weak among us. We are interested in continuing and strengthening partnerships with the private sector to create wealth for our people.
The government needs partners.
We need partners to re-develop downtown Kingston.
We need partners to reverse the degradation in many communities.
We need partners to revitalize rural Jamaica which is being given a special focus in my Administration.
We need a whole nation to work with the government to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to which we have committed ourselves. This cannot be done without mobilizing people.
You have a lot of work to do. Your role will be critical in supporting your Minister to carry out the mandate of the Government and people of Jamaica.
There are some Ministries such as the Ministry of Local Government and Environment that will now have a junior minister. I know from experience how necessary it is to have support at that level in a ministry as large as local government with so many challenging areas.
This will allow the Minister to concentrate on national issues and his policy responsibility to the Cabinet without losing sight of the implementation of policies.
I recall so many times when I had to address pressing national issues at the expense of attending Parliament.
In particular, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing which also has portfolio responsibility for Water will have two Ministers of State. This is by far the largest Ministry not just in terms of portfolio, but also in terms of the share of the budget that it gets and the impact it will have on the lives of Jamaicans.
You, my Ministers of State, are messengers and servants. Overall, in addition to the specific tasks which you will be assigned by your respective Minister, I want you to focus on two critical areas:
1. Consultation – no policy that is affecting the lives of the Jamaican people must come to the Cabinet without meaningful consultation with the people.
2. Mobilisation – People participation is critical to the successful implementation of policy. A good policy without people support is dead. We must learn to trust the maturity of the Jamaican people. We must not be afraid to tell them that we have a difficult road ahead of us.
They are prepared to work shoulder to shoulder with us. We must give them the opportunity to do so. As a team, no mountain is too high that we cannot climb.
Proverbs 15:22 says that “there is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk but in the multitude of counselors, there is accomplishment.”
I am expecting everyone to perform and work well. If you fail to perform, I do not intend to transfer the failure.
There should be no victimization and no favouritism in the discharge of your duties, whether along party or other lines. I expect hard work, integrity and accountability at all times.
Let’s hit the road and work for our country. All Jamaicans at home and abroad are depending on us to improve the quality of life of our people and to make this place a better and safer place for them.
Be a part of this history that is unfolding. Be a part of the team that must deliver on the hope and great aspirations of the Jamaican people.
As you carry out your work, I want you to always remember this. I love you and support you.
But I love, I love, I love the Jamaican people.Thank you.