Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion in this 2013/2014 Budget Debate, truly a critical point for our country, our economy and the well being of our people.

Over the past 15 months, as we negotiated this new crucial IMF Extended Fund Agreement from the ru­ins of the failed Stand-by Agreement, we have had to face many harsh realities, but none so clear as the fact that without economic growth and development, we face the real possibility of being back at square one.

All Jamaicans must be determined that this should not happen.

But, Mr. Speaker, while we recognize the importance of an IMF agreement, this Administration is under no illusion that IMF agreements alone are the solution to our problems – they only give us a breathing space for us to get our act together.

We know that it is only the hard work and dedication of the Jamaican people to achieve the development of our country that will result in lasting change.

When my Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller gave me the responsibility to lead the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, I decided that for my Ministry to be most effective, my primary goal as the Minister would be to help find avenues to fuel growth in our economy.

Let us be very clear, growth is only sustainable when it brings tangible and long-term benefits to a broad spectrum of the Jamaican society. To do less than that is to fail those in the middle and working classes who look for leadership that will give them more than a push start.

And so this afternoon Mr. Speaker, I will focus on those areas of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) which fuel and support growth and development, which will form the main pillars for the modernization of the Jamaican economy and which together represent vast opportunities for all Jamaicans…Read More

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