Madam Speaker, as we gather here today, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, appreciation, and positivity.
Thanks to the Almighty for carrying our country through the difficult times over the last three years. Despite trials and tribulations, we are here today as a testament to the unwavering power of God’s love, grace and promise of hope and prosperity.
Madam Speaker, I thank my family for their love and support, particularly Juliet and my Mom who I know is watching overseas. I thank my colleagues in Cabinet for their counsel, our Parliamentary caucus, Party members, and the people of West Central St. Andrew for their loyal support. Let me acknowledge my personal staff and advisors, those hardworking public sector workers, and board members who make the achievements I will report today possible.
Madam Speaker, I am happy to see our friends from the Diplomatic Corps sharing this occasion with other friends and officials in the gallery. These proceedings are being broadcast on various platforms, and I am told that there is significant viewership, both locally and in the diaspora. Let me welcome you to our Parliament and thank you for joining.
Madam Speaker, it is my great pleasure to share the incredible story of Jamaica’s remarkable rebound in the face of global economic shocks from the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, war in Ukraine, and high global inflation. Against all odds, our nation has defied expectations and delivered an economic recovery that has captured the world’s attention.
Consider these impressive achievements:
• Seven consecutive quarters of economic growth, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in real
• More than 150,000 jobs created or restored, driving the unemployment rate to a historic
low of approximately 6%
• Net International Reserves at US$3.93 billion, up by 26% from pre-COVID levels
• International recognition for our nation’s exceptional response to the pandemic and strong
economic recovery, as evidenced by Fitch’s revised rating outlook to Positive from Stable
• Enduring the worst global health and economic crisis in a century without triggering a debt,
balance of payments, or currency crisis
• In the midst of a global economic fall out and retrenchment in employment this
Government did not layoff one public sector worker or reduce pa