The People’s National Party (PNP)-led Government has honoured the covenant it made with the Jamaican people in the lead up to last year’s General Election victory.
The people returned the People’s National Party to leadership with a 42 to 21 seat victory over the JLP government after less than one term in office. The Party's message was based on a clear mission, set within a framework of the Progressive Agenda, with Participation, Accountability and Responsibility underpinning the approach to governance.
The achievements of the PNP-led administration in its first year are anchored firmly around its established priorities in the Manifesto namely:
1. Rebuilding economic stability and a clear path to growth and development;
2. Embarking on a sustainable job creation path with clear benchmarks;
3. The restoration of the health sector with an emphasis on qualitative improvement in primary care and developing centres of excellence at the secondary and tertiary levels of service delivery
4. Returning trust and respectability to wage negotiations with the public sector and in dealings with public sector employees in general
5. A new thrust in education with a focus on early childhood education
6. Implementing sustainable measures to reduce crime
7. Intensifying the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) process to foster new industries and create high level jobs
8. Increasing tourism arrivals and widen the scope of the industry
9. Continuing to roll out infrastructural developments
10. Increasing energy efficiency, including finding cheaper alternatives to reduce the almost total dependence on oil, among others.
As January 6, 2013 marks the first anniversary of the Portia Simpson Miller-led Cabinet being sworn into leadership, the PNP will mark that occasion with the first comprehensive Report Card to the Jamaican people.
However, as 2012 comes to a close, the Party wishes to share some concrete achievements that have been completed in its first year of its action plan designed to be rolled out over five years driving towards Vision 2030. The Portia Simpson Miller-led, PNP administration:
• Initiated the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) as a practical short-term strategy for the vulnerable to address some of their immediate needs:
o Phase 1 of JEEP (February to April2012): approximately 15,000 persons were employed in several Ministries and Agencies, undertaking tasks in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and intensive labour.
o Phase 2: Some 40,000 persons will be employed during this phase in a combination of short-term jobs, as well as training and placement in long-term jobs aligned to the growth and development prospects with the coming logistics hub and other major sustainable projects. Some of these jobs are also generating other spin-off benefits for communities islandwide given the successful establishment of the Public-Private Partnership with Food for the Poor, where the PNP-led Government is ensuring a significant increase in the provision of housing units to poor households (erecting 1,200 two-bedroom units for such households as well as 500 units being built for persons who suffered total loss due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy)
• Led and completed the passage of the Telecommunications (Amendment) Act 2012 which brought a raft of changes to Jamaica’s telecommunications landscape, including an instant reduction in voice call rates, in some instances by as much as 30 per cent
• Increased tourism arrivals by three percent (3%) over the January – September period in 2012 over the similar period in 2011 through deliberate effective strategies despite the continued global recession
• Implemented the removal of GCT from electricity benefiting 80,000 more consumers
• Resumed the Construction of the North-South Link of Highway 2000 (Caymana’s to Ocho Rios) which was originally conceptualized under the PJ Patterson-led Government to facilitate growth and development by easier movement of goods, services and people across the island to centres of commerce
• Upgraded a number of health centres and identified Centres of Excellence for primary care in all four health regions
• Placed 200 trained teachers in basic schools to improve standards of teaching and learning, and trained over 8000 teachers from the early childhood, primary and secondary levels
• Improved JUTC’s viability as a key platform in public transportation for hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans with 45% increase in ridership to 1.4m for Express service, 30% reduction in accidents, new passenger routes added as well as implemented tactics which have yielded $9m per month in savings
• Is enabling safer communities with a greater presence of security forces by training over 1000 new police personnel and spending over $600m towards increasing the vehicle fleet for our security forces to enable improved mobility in exercising their duties than ever before (this is more than was spent in the last 3 years combined)
• Completed work on several significant legislative and regulatory commitments necessary for concretely advancing negotiations on a new IMF Agreement after a breakdown under the previous JLP-led Government. With agreement reached on core fundamentals, the next steps to finalization will create a base towards Jamaica’s stable economic recovery.
While it has been a very difficult time with global economic uncertainty affecting local and global economies, the Government has dealt with the fallout from man-made and natural disasters. This was exacerbated by the previous Government’s absence of full insight into the scale and scope of the challenges, due to what we can only deem as ineptness and obfuscation by the former government of the JLP. Nevertheless, this Portia Simpson-Miller-led Government is equal to the challenge, always keeping people at the centre of our priorities as we put in place the foundation for long-term growth and development with a range of initiatives across all Ministries from 2012 and into 2013 onwards.
The People’s National Party pledges to the country our undying patriotic faith and fervor as we continue to work to develop Jamaica in the interest of all. We wish every member of the Jamaican family the very best for this season of goodwill and we look forward to a brighter and more peaceful 2013. God bless you all.