Senators and Former Members seated in the well,
Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps,
His Worship the Mayor of Kingston and other Mayors and Councillors present,
Chairmen and board members of public bodies
Jamaicans here and in the diaspora, listening, watching and following on various media platforms, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen in the gallery,
Thank you for joining me today in this important ritual of our democracy. The reading of the Budget.
This is my fourth budget presentation in this term of my administration. In preparing to speak to you today, I have had a chance to honestly reflect on the performance of this government and to assess my stewardship of your affairs.
I want to assure you that I do not need the Opposition to remind me that there are challenges. I am the first to admit that there is room for improvement. However, I can also stand here confidently today and say without fear of contradiction, that this government has done a much better job of managing the affairs of the people than any government the Opposition has ever formed.
The fact is that even with the challenges, which we acknowledge, there has never been a period in the history of Jamaica where the affairs of the country have been so managed that we can report four consecutive budgets which were either revenue neutral, no new taxes or a reduction of taxes. Even more, I cannot recall a budget where there was a net give back of taxes to this magnitude. Overall, my assessment is that the government has performed well. All that has been achieved has been done through the collective work and sacrifice of the people of Jamaica, alongside the efforts of leadership, and God’s grace.
God has been good to Jamaica. We have been spared exogenous shocks and major disasters, Jeremiah 29:11 continues to inspire me: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. We are not here to celebrate, or boast. We are here to give thanks and to commit to doing even more.
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