PM summons sector leaders ahead of national address
Livern Barrett and Daraine Luton, Gleaner Reporters
Key sector leaders and other figures have started to arrive at Vale Royal for a crucial meeting ahead of tonight’s highly-anticipated joint address to the nation by the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.
The sector leaders were summoned to the meeting by the Prime Minister.
The Governor of the Bank of Jamaica Brian Wynter, the Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and the opposition spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw arrived minutes apart.
Former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Joseph Matalon; Evelyn Smith, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and Brian Pengelley, the president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association were also spotted.
Tonight’s broadcast will be used to update the nation on the state of the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Political historian Arnold Bertram says by making a duo appearance, Simpson Miller and Dr Phillips are seeking to communicate the importance of the moment to the country.
"It is such a moment of national importance and the way that they interpret the importance of the moment that both of them, one as leader and the other with direct responsibility for finance, that if they both communicate to the Jamaican people at the same time, it will convey the importance of the occasion," said Bertram, who has served in a Cabinet with both Simpson Miller and Phillips.
Meanwhile, Gleaner columnist, Martin Henry, the new ground being broken is very interesting.
"I think the joint appearance is intended to send a message of solidarity and unity against speculations in media and veranda talk that there might be divisions with the Cabinet," Henry said.
He added: "I think it is an excellent idea that two of the most senior members of the Cabinet would jointly address the nation."