Speech

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has called on Jamaicans to unite around addressing the country’s debt.

She said that as long as “our debt as a percentage of our economy remains high, our capacity for growth and development will be severely limited”.

“Success can only come from a truly national effort; all of us working in harmony. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted by bickering. Every individual and every sector will need to make a contribution,” she added.

The Prime Minister was speaking in a national broadcast on Monday night, February 11, along with Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.

Noting the country’s high debt, which stands at over 140 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Prime Minister, said that bringing down the figure is a fundamental requirement to secure Jamaica’s future, create jobs, and provide the quality services and facilities that will meet the needs of Jamaicans.

She stated that the Government is determined to implement the sound management practices the economy requires, noting that measures have already begun.

She noted however, that to achieve this necessary level of debt reduction, greater levels of accountability and discipline are required.

“There is absolutely no room for non-performance. I insist on full accountability from everyone, every Department, every Ministry, every government entity, as we move confidently towards achieving our objectives,” the Prime Minister said.

She noted that the National Debt Exchange Offer, which is critical to the Economic Reform Programme and in securing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), can only succeed with the fullest cooperation of the broad financial sector and the support of the entire country.

“I am therefore inviting every Jamaican to make this investment in our country’s future,” the Prime Minister said.

“If we pull together and stay focused, we can bring down the debt; we can fix the economy. We can inspire a new sense of hope and possibility in our country. Join me Jamaica, in making this vision a reality. Join me on this journey that we are undertaking, to rescue our country from debt. Let us embark on the path of sustainable growth. We will be keeping you informed and presenting you with the facts,” she pledged.