JIS News

The Government Communication Group has launched a series of panel discussions looking at issues directly affecting the country and identifying solutions.
The first such discussion, under the theme: ‘Fighting poverty, the past, the present, the future’, was held yesterday (November 10), at Jamaica House and featured panelists such as Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica; Dr. Jaslin Salmon, National Co-ordinator of the Poverty Eradication Programme in the Office of the Prime Minister and Robert Buddan, Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies.
Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman who addressed the launch, lauded such an initiative, noting that it has started in the right way by engaging those in leadership who have influence in the society.
“Clearly we are all of the view that a more informed and analytical population is what we would all wish to be dealing with. I don’t think it is realistic to believe that you can bring this about with any one initiative but what we are starting here this morning is a step towards accomplishing that. I think it is starting in the right way with those in leadership who have influence in the society and engaging in particular the media, which can spread the message,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that it was not only the facts of today’s presentation that needed to be shared with the general public, but it was more the awareness that as a people, we need “to inform ourselves and look at reality before rushing to judgement”.
Senator Whiteman said it was important that such a dialogue begin with these panel discussions as there were people in the society who were looking for more than they were currently receiving in the general run of media presentations.
The Minister said Jamaica was dealing now with national development, and “what we are about here is ensuring that we help to promote and create a more informed leadership among the opinion shapers and a more informed and analytical citizenry, as we share this information in digestible form with those who make up the broad mass of the population”.
In his presentation, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis pointed out that poverty was at the heart of a number of social, economic and political problems, which he said, was not a matter for government alone.
There is a tendency, he noted, to inculcate the view in this society that all the problems are in the hands of government to solve.
“It is patently not so. Other stakeholders in the society, private sector, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), whether in terms of voluntary contributions in kind, money or in service or whether it is an attitude towards some sort of economic measure which is meant for those of us who are better off, to make a contribution so that those who are less better-off can come out of poverty or stay above the line,” he said.
Dr. Davis said that tremendous strides have been made in tackling the issue of poverty, and that the problem has to be understood in a very significant way, “so that we can have a common united and productive assault on it”.
Other topics to be discussed in the series include, ‘Good governance – perception versus reality’, in December; ‘Jamaica in the international arena, leader or follower’, in January; ‘The transforming landscape of Jamaica’s economy’, in February, and ‘Developments in the physical and social infrastructure’, in March.

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