Speech

Mr. Speaker, colleagues of this Honourable House, in making my contribution to the sectoral debate I speak of a revolution in Jamaica. I speak of revolution because I can find no other word to describe the process that has generated the most dramatic, the most fundamental and the most profound development that has occurred in our country’s modern history.
Mr. Speaker, I speak of a fundamental change and a reversal of conditions that have impacted the lives of nearly every single Jamaican man, woman and child. The revolution of which I speak, propelled some of us into action willingly and readily. It forced some of us into action because the survival of our businesses depended upon the embrace of this revolution. Some of us were forced to abandon our skepticism and negativism and march to the new rhythm of change.
Others of us were swept along regardless. The process carried us along without division.and I am pleased to have been a leader in the process, knowing that in so doing, I had to be willing to learn, to take risks and to boldly guide a process that portends prosperity in uncharted waters.
Thus we engaged the information technology revolution, thus we dared to dream and sell our vision to Jamaicans of all walks of life. I recall well the widespread cynicism that followed our audacious declaration that we intended to abolish the telecommunications monopoly in Jamaica. Some claimed that we would become mired in futile, lengthy and costly litigation; others claimed that to break the monopoly would destroy business confidence and set a bad precedent. Others simply noted that we needed to be patient and wait out the 23 years of the monopoly, as in their view the cost was not worth the effort.
Yet Mr. Speaker, we persevered. We read the global forecast right. We were seized of a strong resolve to involve the vast majority of our people in the development process. We saw a future in which the technology would penetrate even the farthest corner of our country, bringing with it enlightenment, education, training and new opportunities for gainful employment. We saw at work the power of competition as prices fell while the quality and quantity of telecommunications products and services exploded.
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