Greetings and Salutations
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, distinguished Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora…
It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that I rise to address the Parliament in this important Budget Debate.
I give thanks to the Almighty God for His favour on Jamaica, and for His guiding hand in the face of the great challenges of our times.
As a Government, we remain confident and resilient, anchored in the mandate of the people to lead this country with skillful hands and integrity of heart.
Mr. Speaker, today, I remember my mother and father.
I honour their sacrificial investment in my life, and I laud them for the legacy of their values; which have inspired me during my over 40 years of unbroken service to the people of Jamaica.
- I thank my anchor, my husband, Errald and the other members of my family, including the ‘one-in-a-million’, Marva, for their continuing support and encouragement.
My deep gratitude is extended to:
- The members of the Cabinet;
- The leadership, members and supporters of the People’s National Party,
- My Councillors and Constituents of South-west St.
- The members of staff of the Office of the Prime Minister;
- My advisory and administrative teams, and my security detail.
Let me once again to express my heartfelt gratitude to every Jamaican; those at home and those who reside outside of Jamaica.
“You continue to be the wind beneath my wings,” and the source of my motivation.
Today I am also inspired by the words of Joshua Chapter 1 verse 9:
“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Balancing the Books while Balancing People’s Lives
I address this Honourable House at a time when the financial resources of our country are low, and when the confidence of some of our fellow citizens has been dented by doubt and discouragement.
It is a time when many ask the question: “how much more can we sacrifice?”
I say to them, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”.
Last year was another challenging year. The severity of the fiscal adjustment, which has to be undertaken, is causing hurt for all of us.
No one has been spared:
- the poorest households;
- middle-income professionals who operate on a fixed income; and
- business persons with large and small enterprises.
My understanding of the pain resulting from some of the adjustments, particularly in the fiscal accounts, comes from a lifetime of service to the people of Jamaica and an abiding desire to improve the lives of the entire Jamaican family.
It is not based on a single bus ride.
When I go to the supermarket, I see the changes in the food prices and I am aware of the economic challenges within households.
I feel the concerns. I know the expectations.
Many persons tell me about their dreams for their children.
They tell me of their hopes for a prosperous society.
My Administration shares their dreams and their aspirations.
To realize our goals we have to get the economy right.
All well-thinking Jamaicans know that the economic adjustments have to be made.
Most understand that this Government has been focused and responsible.
They know that we are staying with the programme of macro-economic transformation.
Let there be no doubt about that…READ MORE