Speech

Your Excellencies the Governor General, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Peter Phillips, Mr. Bruce Golding former Prime Minister and Mrs. Golding, my fellow Jamaicans good afternoon.

There is no certain of victory, so we must work diligently on the people’s behalf, and place our faith in God, that He would reward our efforts according to his Judgement and Grace. To God be the glory. For all that we have achieved and all we ever hope to achieve, we give God thanks.

In 2016 you entrusted your hopes and dreams to us and we did not bury them. With industry, enterprise, and partnership we set about fulfilling your dreams and keeping your hope alive. There is much more work to be done. I am humbled and honoured, that the people of Jamaica have seen it fit to give me another opportunity to be the chief steward of their affairs. Thank you for your vote and support, and I commit once again, to using every fibre of my being and all the energy of my spirit for the advancement, fulfilment, and prosperity of the Jamaican people.

The health and economic impact of the COVID19 Pandemic is ubiquitous in our daily life and will be that way for some time to come. We have been very strategic in managing the risks the Pandemic poses, protecting lives, and preserving livelihoods. While spikes in numbers are inevitable in a Pandemic, as we have seen in even the most developed countries, our collective success as a country has led to some complacency in our behaviour. We will put in place the measures necessary to bring this present spike under control and keep you safe, while not unduly affecting your livelihood.

However, as we enter this new phase of the Pandemic the greater emphasis must be placed on the responsible behaviour of individuals; Jamaica does not have the reserves of resources to lockdown our economy for extended periods. We must now all learn how to live with and protect ourselves from the Sars Cov2 virus and the Covid19 disease it causes. We cannot rely on fear, panic and stigma to get temporary compliance, but on the conscious effort on the part of every Jamaican, that as we go about our daily lives, working, worshipping, shopping, and socializing we must follow the established infection prevention and control protocols. These personal measures, coupled with stronger public education, tighter enforcement and prosecution of breaches, and control of non-productive and
unnecessary movement and activities will gradually bring the numbers down and relieve the stress on our health system and the exposure of our frontline workers.

I have faith in our Jamaican people that we will quickly develop the understanding and compliance necessary to go about our daily lives in a new normal way.

While the Pandemic has created a crisis, it has also presented an opportunity for us to reconfigure and modernize our economy and society. Our re-election as a government, aside from being decided on a platform of performance, was also decided by the consideration of the electorate that we will be a strong government and effective government to take the necessary actions to see to the emergence of stronger society and economy from the Pandemic. Jamaica will recover stronger and better than before.

With such a large and convincing mandate, the greatest challenge will be to manage internal demands and behaviour of those who form the majority. There will be those who feel that the majority is basis for arrogance, gives license to do as they wish, creates opportunity to pursue their selfish ends and their personal ambition, gives room for complacency, and tolerance for errors.
Those who hold such views would be sadly mistaken and soon separated.

Every member of the government must be an active agent for the stronger recovery of our economy and society. Every member of the government must understand that this mandate is not about them it is about the people, no princes and princesses were elected, you have no divine right or entitlement, we are all servants of the public good.

On the whole, we have built out a good anti-corruption structure through the Integrity Commission and MOCA. They are constrained by the need to complete their legislative framework and expand their investigative and prosecutorial resources. We will ensure this is completed early in this term. The challenge however is not just one of resources and regulation. It is more so, one of will and culture. The will to challenge the culture. It has been clearly demonstrated that my government has acted within the law when matters arise that are of concern to the public interest. NO ONE has been shown any special favours, given any protection, or influence brought to bear on any anticorruption agency or investigation. This is a step in the right direction. However, in addition to investigation and prosecution, we must also seek to prevent the occurrence of acts which weaken public trust and damage the integrity of the government. To this end, I have indicated to the Executive Director of the Integrity Commission that each elected representative and each appointed Minister will participate in sensitization programme to be established by the Integrity Commission, to increase their awareness and understanding of the anti-corruption legislative framework, not just to sensitize them but to ensure they are seized of their duties and understand that this will be an accountable government.

Once we have built the confidence of the public that there resources are not being diverted, that their authority vested in us is not being used to create unfair advantage for others, and there is a sense that all elected officials and public servants act with a high level of integrity, this will unleash a spirit of public support for government and the state, that will make any development plan a success. While this election was conducted in a Pandemic which would have had an impact on voter turnout, we are still very concerned about the low voter turnout that has been a trend over the last three elections. We know that a large number of Jamaicans are not satisfied with the integrity, dignity and efficiency of their state and government. We, therefore, see the strong correlation between the success of our economic and social programme and the trust of the public. We commit to make government of the highest integrity, dignity, and efficiency.

There is no honeymoon period for this government. Already I am back at my desk to continue our recovery plan.

1/ We will maintain and strengthen macro-economic stability – we will build and strengthen the institutions that safeguard sustainability of government finances, low and stable inflation, foreign exchange reserve adequacy and financial sector stability. We will bring operational independence to the Bank of Jamaica and we will implement a Fiscal Council.

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