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Speech

Looking Ahead – Sustainable Growth in the “New Normal”

INTRODUCTION

M r. Speaker, I rise to make my sectoral contribution to this Honourable House with a feeling of optimism, in spite of all that we have endured recently as a nation and a people due to the Novel Coronavirus, COVID 19. I am cognizant that Jamaica and indeed the entire world are operating in a “New Normal”, where lives, livelihoods, markets and economies have been adversely affected.

However, Mr. Speaker, out of adversity, there are also opportunities. Examples can be seen all over, people are repurposing their businesses to make face masks, and vendors are diversifying their offerings to include sanitizers. Where there is a need, Jamaicans are rising to meet it and to overcome the challenges. We are down, but not out.

There is no doubt that we will have to make serious adjustments to our policies, plans and programmes given this new normal. But I have every confidence in the resilience, creativity, and work ethic of the Jamaican people, and pledge my support for any and all initiatives that will propel sustainable growth for our beloved country.

With all of this in mind Mr. Speaker, I have chosen the theme “Looking Ahead – Sustainable Growth in the New Normal”, for my presentation. Despite the setbacks, we are moving full steam ahead on several projects that will realize our goals, as I will highlight throughout my speech.

Acknowledgements and Thanks
Before I do so however, I would like to thank the Jamaican people for all their support, during this challenging time, as we continue to work together to flatten the curve and arrest the spread of COVID-19.

I would especially like to thank our health care workers, who have given yeoman service during this period, as well as those individuals and organizations who gave support through such gestures as the provision of buses to transport our health workers on the frontlines, the donation of hand sanitizers, and through various other types of donations. Indeed, this pandemic has demonstrated the power of “we” over “I”, community over self, and has epitomized the meaning of the words “my brother’s keeper”.

I would also like to thank my family for their enduring love and support, Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP for his continued faith in my abilities, and the hardworking members of the staff at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation led by Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Audrey Sewell, CD, JP and Director General, Dr. Sharon Crooks.

Special thanks also to my colleagues in Cabinet, my staff at Jamaica House, Pat, Diana, Cheryl, Gavin, Sherell and Locksley, my security detail, Corporals Chong and Hamilton, as well as the Members across the aisle whose robust opposition has added to the discourse on several topics and pieces of Legislation.

I wish also to extend gratitude on behalf of the Government and People of Jamaica to our several international partners who have seen the vision of the Jamaica we are trying to create, and who have provided support through grant funding, and technical expertise on many of our plans, projects and programmes.

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