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05-09-2006, 07:30 PM
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[b]It is for me a blessing to be afforded the opportunity to participate in another historic day in our Nation and this Honourable House.

For the first time a woman rises as Prime Minister of Jamaica to deliver a Budget Presentation. I cannot help reflecting on the struggle over the years of exemplary women such as Nanny, our only female National Heroine, Mary Seacole, Hyacinth Lightbourne, Iris Tulloch, May Farquharson, Amy Jacques Garvey, Amy Bailey, Lady Bustamante, Edna Manley, and the hundreds of unsung heroines.

My presence in this capacity is a tribute to all the women who have sat in the Parliament and Parish Councils over the years. It is also a tribute for those who are sitting members today and indeed a tribute to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces and daughters in Jamaica.

Let me, therefore, ask the men in this Chamber on both sides of the House to applaud the women of Jamaica for their tremendous contribution to our nation over these many years.

Indeed Mr. Speaker, my presence is also a tribute to all the leaders of our country who have in one way or another contributed to the advancement of women in our nation.

I speak of the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley, the Rt. Excellent Sir William Alexander Bustamante, the Most Honourable Sir Donald Burns Sangster, the Most Honourable Hugh Lawson Shearer, the Most Honourable Michael Norman Manley, the Most Honourable Edward Phillip George Seaga and the Most Honourable Percival Noel James Patterson.

Appreciation

Mr. Speaker, let me first thank the people of Jamaica both those at home and in the diaspora for their prayers, support and love. Very specially, I want to thank the children all over Jamaica, who during my campaign created a special bond with me.

I also want to thank the members of my constituency for their unconditional support since I entered representational politics in 1974. They have never let me down and I do not intend to let them down.

Let me also thank my husband, Errald, my housekeeper Marva, my family, my Party, and my many friends and well-wishers for their love and support.

To the Church, I also want to say thanks for their continued prayers which mean so much to me.

I want to say a very special thank you to my predecessor, the Most Honourable P. J. Patterson, who served with distinction for 14 consecutive years, as well as my Cabinet colleagues past and present.

I feel proud today to be succeeding him, the longest serving Prime Minister of Jamaica, and a distinguished president of the People's National Party.

He is in the line of stalwart leaders of an organization that I presently head.

You know, Mr. Speaker, the common thread that runs through and characterizes these leaders, from Norman Manley through Michael Manley through P. J. Patterson is high- grade integrity.

I intend to be a noble trustee of this fine tradition.
Finally, let me thank the hard working members of the public sector, especially those with whom I had the privilege of working in the Ministries of Labour, Social Security and Sport; Tourism and Sport, and Local Government, Community Development and Sport, the staff of the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Prime Minister as well as my security detail and support staff.

Mr. Speaker,

In 1962 when this nation became independent our founding fathers took some important decisions. They gave to us a National Anthem and they chose to make it a prayer.

Our prayer and supplication to God Almighty for our country and our people were captured in the words of this anthem.

"Eternal Father, bless our land
Guard us with Thy mighty hand
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our light through countless hours
To our leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love"

Teach us true respect for all
Stir response to duty's call
Strengthen us the weak to cherish
Give us vision lest we perish
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours for ever
Jamaica Land we love,
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica Land we love.

Our founding fathers also gave us a National Pledge.

"Before God and all mankind,
I pledge the love and loyalty of my
heart

The wisdom and courage of my mind
The strength and vigour of my body
In the service of my fellow citizens

I promise to stand up for Justice,
Brotherhood and Peace
To work diligently and creatively,
To think generously and honestly
So that Jamaica may under God
Increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity
And play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race."

This means that at the threshold of independence, our leaders pointed us to putting our faith in God and to hard work and diligence. The manner in which we have abided by their advice gives me great concern. From my point of view, I have no fear to affirm my strong belief in God.

Let me again make it quite clear that I am not perfect. I am a mere mortal like any of us in this country. Mistakes will be made, but my prayers everyday and every night are and will be for the guidance of the Almighty in this awesome job of being Prime Minister of this country.

A debate on being appointed or being called to service, is not the critical issue at this time. Everybody is entitled to his or her belief. I have faith in the Almighty.

The measure of my faith and relationship with God can only be judged by Him. It is on that basis that my faith will be judged.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I am conscious of the fact that this is a historic moment.

As a firm believer in the Bible, it has not escaped my attention that I am the seventh Prime Minister of Jamaica.

To those who understand the significance and symbolism of numbers in the Bible, it will be recognized that seven is the number for wholeness, completion and fullness.

It is perhaps not without significance, too, Mr. Speaker, that today marks 40 days since my swearing-in as Prime Minister. Again, another significant number in Biblical symbolism. We recall, for example, that Jesus was prepared for His ministry after his forty days of fasting.

Today I feel prepared and spiritually filled for my service on behalf of all the people, but especially the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, who need me most.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, as you heard over and over in the refrain on Thursday, "She was there''. Yes, I was there and now I am here. But I am here to tell the Opposition Leader that he won't have the opportunity to move from there to here!

So continue to have fun at my expense, for you will be there for a very long time!

I will be here working to uplift the lives of the poor, women, children, business people - large and small - the weak and strong in the entire nation.

Mr. Speaker,
My participation in the Government for the past 17 years is undeniable. I was there. Indeed, during this time, some great things have been achieved for the people.

Those of us who participated should be proud of these achievements, despite some shortcomings. There has never been a perfect government anywhere in the world - show me one.

But you know what Mr. Speaker, through the ups and downs of these past seventeen years I never went flip flopping here, there and everywhere.

I never changed colour from one to the other and back again. And when things got tough I did not turn my back and run only to return when I could find no place of abode.

Instead Mr. Speaker, I was guided by Isaiah 40:31.

"They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint."

And as the song says "Teach me Lord, teach me Lord how to wait."

Mr. Speaker, I recommend the Prophet Isaiah to my friend opposite.

There seems to be general agreement that the quality of this year's Budget Debate has been high.

But, Mr. Speaker, several of the proposals put forward by the Leader of the Opposition sounded very familiar.

He has clearly been listening, observing and reading. In response I say,


On Human Rights - Read my Inauguration Speech

On Corruption - Read the Inauguration and my Campaign Launch Speeches

On Abuse of citizens by the security forces - Read my Inauguration Speech

On Charter of Rights - Read the Throne Speech

On Real time court proceedings - Read the Throne Speech

On Public Financing of Political Parties - Read the Throne Speech

On Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform - Read the PNP Manifesto 2002.

Mr. Speaker, it is either that our views have become identical or I am receiving the best form of flattery. The talks, proposed by the Leader of the Opposition should not be difficult, therefore, because there is convergence of views.

What I am not sure of is whether his Party supports him on all the things that he has put forward, because they do not seem to support him on his "new and different" view of the separation of powers.

I say to the Opposition Leader let us sit down and in the interest of the entire Jamaica, let us and our teams discuss the constitutional and other issues involving the use of power.

I would spurn no opportunity to constructively discuss with the Opposition any set of issues which could positively impact the lives of the Jamaican people.

In fact Mr. Speaker the Opposition leader spoke of the Corruption Prevention Commission and called for changes in its operations.

Even before he spoke, the Government had proposed to make changes and today I am pleased to announce that Cabinet before the end of this month will consider making The Corruption Prevention Commission a creature of Parliament just as the Integrity Commission and the Ombudsman.

This should be so Mr. Speaker, because the Corruption Commission oversees all the ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Justice to which it now reports.

In agreeing to these discussions, Mr. Speaker, recall the Throne Speech which clearly stated this country was not only about the Government and the Opposition. There are thousands of persons who are neither PNP nor JLP.

This country belongs to them too and our policy to empower communities is one of the strategies to bring them into the discussions and determination of Government policies.

All these persons must also be involved in the preparation of Development Plans and projects and be engaged in their efficient and effective implementation.

That is why concepts such as 60/40 are outdated and can no longer work - 60 for the Government and 40 for the Opposition can no longer work.

It is within this context that I am prepared to establish mechanisms where both the Government, the Opposition, and most importantly the wider society can engage in the search for real and workable solutions on behalf of the people of Jamaica.

As Marcus Mosiah Garvey said "Before you have a Government you must have the people. Without the people there can be no Government. The Government must be, therefore, an expression of the will of the people."

This new approach to governance - empowering all Jamaicans, not just the Government and the Opposition but all the people is what I am about. That is my pledge to the people and that is what I will deliver.

THE CHALLENGES BEFORE US

Mr. Speaker,
I now turn to the vision for my Administration as well as the journey we must take to get there.

You are well aware of my life long advocacy for policies to improve the lives and conditions of the poor, the marginalized and the disempowered in our society.

My position is not merely political, but it is also deeply philosophical.

The well-being of any society depends on the well-being of all its people. The measure of a good society, therefore, is how it treats the poor, the aged, those with disabilities and our women and children.

Far too many of our people are engaged in a continuous struggle for mere survival and are relentlessly occupied in that human task of finding food and water at least once per day.

Their lives are further complicated by the negative impact of violence, corruption, natural disasters and other unplanned events. Their lives are a tough and unforgiving struggle, dedicated only to 'right now', and decorated by two conflicting human emotions - despair and hope.

These citizens feel they have no place or voice and consequently become detached from society. It is this detachment that forges the links between poverty and social unrest, resentment, political upheavals, even crime.

We must remind ourselves therefore that people are the ultimate end, and not means to the political or personal ambitions of others.

We must remind ourselves that the worth of a person is not based on their economic, social or political status, but on their God-given possession of free will, ability to reason and, importantly, on the moral values they possess.

We must never allow anyone to be encumbered by the geography of birth, social or economic status.

MY VISION

I have a clear vision of Jamaica becoming a country that will reach a stage where we have universal literacy and an education and training system that produces a first class human being capable of competing within any sector of the world economy.

A Jamaica where our people will all have access, across the board, to first class health care, and to safe and reliable transport.

A society of literate and healthy people that can move from place to place with ease is my vision for Jamaica.

In short, a Jamaica, which fully allows release of the potential of a powerful people.

I have a vision of Jamaica where our people have overcome the artificial and debilitating divisions, which have been erected to suit partisan and sectarian interests, not the interests of the people.

It is time for us to break down those walls.

My vision is about the community participation, where we create the space - the environment - where people see their involvement in national life as their right.

My vision is about empowerment; where citizens take responsibility for the management of their economic, health, educational, cultural and recreational needs supported and facilitated by the government.

My vision is about economic development that makes for the creation and retention of wealth to benefit all our citizens and reduce and eliminate poverty.

My vision, therefore, highlights the value and worth of all our people and I will place them at the centre of the development and prosperity of our nation.

Mr. Speaker, we must acknowledge that how we manage presently leaves far too many of our people out of the process.

People are disconnected, and they feel alienated.

Central to my vision, is placing education as the corner stone on which everything else will revolve in providing a better quality of life.

Mr. Speaker to achieve these goals we must engage all the people so that they make their contribution. Together we can succeed.

Mr. Speaker,
Before turning to this development path that we will travel together, I must pause here to say that I know that the expectations of people are very high.

While I will be doing my best to achieve as much as possible, I am sure that the majority of Jamaicans will understand that all cannot be done overnight.

We will have to agree through a process of consultation on when and how to tackle our problems one by one, step-by-step.

My firm commitment to the Jamaican people is that I will do my part and expect that you will do yours.

THE DEVELOPMENT PATH

Mr. Speaker, I now turn to the development path of our country.

The Opposition alluded to some confusion about the economic direction of my government.

Let me be absolutely clear. As my Minister of Finance & Planning has indicated in his presentation, my government is committed to a sound macroeconomic policy that:


prudently manages the fiscal accounts;

controls inflation;

reduces the debt ratios;

lowers domestic interest rates combined with improved access to credit by those seeking to invest in our development programme; and

achieves stability in a liberalized foreign exchange system.

My administration intends to strengthen this macroeconomic policy with a comprehensive upgrade of the development programme by rooting it in community empowerment.

This means that the communities throughout Jamaica will play an important role in defining what is to be done and in ensuring successful implementation of the development programme.

In this regard, I draw your attention to the World Bank's position on this matter, [and here I quote]:

"A fundamental prerequisite of successful participatory programmes at the community level is the reversal of control and accountability from central authorities to the community level." [End quote]

Mr. Speaker, I have full faith in the people of Jamaica. I believe with a strong community empowerment programme we will unleash the energies and creative potential of our people to be catalyst of growth.

So instead of a growth and development policy that is "managed directly at the very highest levels of government by a CEO Prime Minister and a CFO Finance Minister," as the Opposition Spokeman on Finance advocates, I intend to lead a policy process that features close collaboration with people in their communities.

I will be the people's facilitator. I will assist communities to help themselves.

Yes Mr. Speaker. "There is a real difference between the Opposition and the Government on the question of how Jamaica's economy should be managed."

My Government will listen to the voice of the people and facilitate their plans and programmes to help themselves.

INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES

There is no doubt Mr. Speaker that a most impressive package of investments is presently underway in the country and strengthening the capacity of communities will only make this package more impressive.

I start with the critical investment in transforming our educational system to raise educational standards for all, create a world class education and training system that produces a first class human being capable of competing in any sector of the global economy.

The mention of Education reminds me that tomorrow is Teachers' Day and I want to thank the Teachers of Jamaica for their vital role in our Education System.

Let us treat them well tomorrow, but remember that we should do so all the time.

Those who continue to abuse and attack them, I call on you to desist and to recognize their importance to our children and our Nation.

Mr. Speaker,
I intend to accelerate the process of Educational Transformation and the country can expect major progress in several aspects of the programme.

When the Minister of Education and Youth makes her presentation, she will highlight details of the Transformation Programme.

Mr. Speaker, Early Childhood Education is my focus during this financial year. The government is providing the largest ever allocation to Early Childhood Education, over one point seven billion dollars, an increase of fourteen per cent.

Mr. Speaker, this increase is larger than any of the other levels of the education system and is in keeping with my commitment.

The Early Childhood Commission is now functioning with the mandate of overseeing early childhood development and the Early Childhood Act and its Regulations, which have now been passed.

We are focusing on quality and the review of the Standards Document is complete so that the system of national registration can begin shortly.

The pilot registration identified the areas most in need of attention at early childhood institutions, which are qualified staff, play and learning material, record keeping and the physical structures.

This year the Government will begin a major programme to upgrade basic school buildings.

Some 97 basic schools will be repaired and upgraded at a cost of J$1.2 billion; 57 will be done under the Lift Up Jamaica Programme and 30 by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Over 11,500 persons will be employed on these construction projects.

The Commission has also completed it review of parenting programmes in order to inform the development of a new parenting policy.

The Commission last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NCTVET for the implementation of new early childhood curricula for Early Childhood Development Programmes Levels I and II and development of a Level III programme.

Shortwood Teachers' College will continue to be the flagship institution of training for early childhood teachers.

And we will keep our commitment that every school will have at least one trained teacher.

A special component of the Early Childhood Programme is the Nutrition Project which is currently being piloted in basic schools in the parish of St. Mary.
The pilot, which is being implemented at a cost of $30 million, is to determine the feasibility of the National Nutrition Programme for Early Childhood Institutions.

During the pilot we are developing menus and nutrition plans as well as training cooks.

Data collection is now taking place and this will be completed by the end of the school year to facilitate an evaluation of the pilot by the end of summer.

The Programme, which is to be rolled out in September in all basic schools, will ensure that each child in school has a nutritious meal provided in safe and healthy surroundings with the support of the community.

YOUTH

Mr. Speaker,
Each young person is an asset to Jamaica. Each has a god-given talent or talents. The responsibility of the state is to provide the environment and support for each young person to discover his or her unique gift and develop this to its full potential.

Youth development must be focused on positive issues surrounding the appropriate transition strategies from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. It must NOT see young people as problems and therefore be mired in finding strategies to "fix" the youth.

For this year, we are expanding the National Youth Service from 3,000 to 5,000 participants.

A provision of $500 Million has been allocated, which represents an increase of 400%.

The 5,000 youths will be trained and employed for a period of 6 months.

National Housing Trust

The National Housing Trust (NHT) continues to execute its mandate in providing housing solutions to its contributors, including the vulnerable in our society.

In recognition of the NHT's focus on its customers, at the recently held Public Sector Customer Service Awards Ceremony, the Trust was awarded the number one position for excellent customer service.

May I commend the Board, management and staff of the Trust for their sterling contribution. This is a good example of what we can achieve when we Jamaicans put our minds to doing well.

Consistent with this mandate, the NHT will be providing One Thousand two hundred and five (1205) housing solutions in schemes across six parishes, namely Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Trelawny, St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland.

This is not merely about giving people a chance, it is about balancing people's lives.

Housing Projects for the Tourism Belt

Our tourism workers must be properly housed in communities that are convenient to their place of employment.

This year some 12 new projects consisting of one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two (1872) new units are to be constructed in the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover.

In addition, some one thousand two hundred and five (1,205) housing solutions will be delivered in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Trelawny, St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland.

Subsidized Housing

Mr. Speaker, I am determined that more of our people at the bottom of the economic ladder, who are contributors to the Trust, should be able to qualify to own a home.

Some of these persons cannot now afford to purchase a house, even at the current minimum interest rate of two (2) percent.

I am deeply concerned about the thousands of contributors to the NHT, who, because of their earnings cannot qualify for a housing benefit.

They deserve not just a mere chance but balance in their lives.

In this regard, the NHT has been requested to allocate half a billion dollars annually to bring them into a special pool of beneficiaries.

When they qualify and have realized their dream of satisfactory shelter for themselves and their families, the NHT will determine the criteria for repayment based on what they can afford to pay in a sustained manner.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, the NHT will be allocating a grant of $150 million to provide shelter solutions for the indigent, poor senior citizens, and the disadvantaged, who are now living in squalor and abject poverty.

These persons will have the benefit of shelter fit for human habitation for the rest of their lives.
Mr. Speaker, these are bold initiatives to broaden the pool of beneficiaries to ensure that we also provide and account for those who contribute, are in need of shelter, but cannot meet the criteria.

It is also geared to meet the needs of special groups, such as the indigent.

We are balancing the lives of the people.

Sugar Workers Housing Programme

This year, under the Sugar Housing programme, sugar workers will benefit from an additional eight hundred and sixty two (862) service lots, located at Worthy Park in St. Catherine, Stokes Hall in St. Thomas, Long Pond and Hamden in Trelawny.

Mr. Speaker, this is part of a programme involving an additional subsidy of up to two and a half billion dollars (J$2.5b) to assist with the building of housing solutions.

This not only impacts the lives of the sugar workers.

It improves the quality of life of the rural communities which is an integral part of our rural development.

Mr. Speaker, we continue to balance the lives of people in the rural communities. My crusade is to improve the quality of lives for sugar workers.

It is as if I am hearing the applause of Alexander Bustamante, Hugh Shearer and Michael Manley from National Heroes Park. I am sure they are not supporting any bangarang.

The Urban Renewal Housing Programme targeting housing solutions designed for inner-city communities, has been on-going and we expect to hand over an additional three projects.

Mr. Speaker, by mid-July, four hundred and eighty-four (484) two and three bedroom units located in Trench Town, 88 to 100 Spanish Town Road and Monaltrie off Half Way Tree Road.

In addition to these, a total of 628 units are under construction at 231 Spanish Town Road, South West St. Andrew and Denham Town in West Kingston.

These units are scheduled for completion by January 2007.

In total, Mr. Speaker, the Housing Trust during this year, will be providing over seven thousand nine hundred (7900) new benefits, at a value of over J$13.2 billion.

In this way, Mr. Speaker, we are not only giving people a chance, but we are balancing the lives of our people.

You know Mr. Speaker, Michael Norman Manley in whose honour the National Housing Trust's building has been named, has not only turned in his grave, but is indeed applauding us for continuing his mission of housing for the working people of Jamaica and in particular, the poor.

We are changing what Bob Marley described as 'cold ground was my bed last night and rock stone was my pillow, too.'

Mr. Speaker, during the 1980s when the Leader of the Opposition was the Minister of Construction, with responsibility for housing, little or nothing was done. Instead, the funds were used to balance the budget to pass the IMF tests.

We are balance lives as we balance the books.

UDC

Mr. Speaker, as part of our efforts to balance the lives of our people, while ensuring rural and urban development, the UDC is expected to play a significant role in providing more jobs for the people.

Lift-up Jamaica, Phase 2

Through the Lift-up Jamaica, Phase 2 programme, which already employs over seven thousand persons, this year, another eleven thousand five hundred persons will be employed.

These individuals will also be trained and certified giving them a skill for life. These are jobs that are not traditionally done by women.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, I have always insisted that women are capable of doing any job and forty percent of these jobs are reserved for women.
I am serving warning from now, that I expect that in the near future, that there will be a fifty/fifty allocation.

Here again, Mr. Speaker, we are balancing the gender and lives of our people.

In addition to the eleven thousand jobs created through the activities of the UDC, many more jobs will be created through the construction of housing developments at Hellshire Park and Johnson Hill in St. Catherine, Mount Edgecombe in Westmoreland, Success in Montego Bay, and the Caymanas Development.
We are not taking a chance with people's lives, where they may win or lose. By creating jobs, we are seeking to balance the lives of the people.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, one of my accomplishments as the Minister of Tourism was the development of the Tourism Master Plan. Consistent with the Plan, I am happy to announce that a sum of One Hundred and Thirty Two million dollars (J$132m) will be spent to undertake upgrading and improvement works at the following locations:


Dunn's River Falls and Park

Ocho Rios Bay Beach,

Reach Falls and Winnifred Beach in Portland will be upgraded during the year; and

Green Grotto Caves and Attractions in St Ann,

Two Sisters Cave, a tourist attraction, in Hellshire, St Catherine which is scheduled to be opened by August of this year.

Urban Renewal Programmes

Mr. Speaker, I am insisting that the people at the grassroots level, be consulted in the development of projects at the community level.

They must have a say on the issues that affect their daily lives.

As part of the Rural Township Re-development Programme, this approach was adopted by the UDC for the people of the town of Port Maria.

As a result, twenty three million dollars will be provided by the UDC for specific projects chosen by the people.

This is how we intend to empower the people of our communities both in the urban and rural areas of Jamaica.

Their involvement, I am sure, will make them become owners and protectors of the assets of their communities. Together we can make it; together we will succeed.

PROJECTS WITH EMPLOYMENT POTENTIAL

Mr. Speaker, as employment is one of our priorities there are a number of projects to be implemented for the fiscal year 2006-2007 with job creation potential.

Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) will focus on business sectors with proven growth potential, and during this period space at Montego Bay Free Zone will be refurbished and a new building is slated to be constructed in the corporate area to accommodate the demand for Information Communication Technology (ICT) space.

Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA)

For the financial year 2006/2007, the Micro Investment Development Agency (MIDA) will continue to play a vital role in the micro enterprise sector.

This financial year 2006/2007 the agency will disburse through its network of Community Development Funds, $115.0 million.

It is projected that this level of credit will finance approximately 1,020 micro enterprises and will generate and sustain over 1,000 jobs.

Approximately $20.0 million of the credit provided will fund small farms engaged in small livestock rearing, tubers and cash crops cultivation while some $8.0 million will provide funding for micro manufacturing enterprises engaged in woodwork/craft, juice, garment, among other things.

The service sector will access approximately $87.0 million to finance businesses engaged in: computer services, day care centres, barbering, tailoring, beauty supplies and saloons, plumbing, motor vehicle repairs, cook-shops, groceries and general vending, stationery supplies, gardening and landscaping.

This is not merely giving a chance, it is giving people a chance to balance their lives.

Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC)

The JBDC will be very active in providing technical support to businesses.

(a) Business Opportunities for World Cup Cricket (WCC) 2007

This programme by JBDC will focus on the development and implementation of business opportunities within the Micro and the Small and Medium Enterprise sectors for World Cup Cricket 2007.

Emphasis will be given to Craft, Food and Fashion, as well as opportunities in the hospitality, entertainment and other service industries.

Through this programme, individuals and communities in areas where WCC activities are scheduled to be held will receive special attention in the development of business ideas, product development, and sensitisation to regulations of the WCC, intellectual property protection, and good business practices.

The primary project beneficiaries are to be individual entrepreneurs and community groups, especially those residing in parishes where WCC events will be staged.

SPORTS

Mr. Speaker, it is important to note the wider developmental potential that sports can play in the achievement of the national growth and development goals.

The WCC is an example of what potential exists for sports tourism and indeed a strong industrial link between sports, education and all other entertainment and hospitality services.

Our schools have long led the way on this front.

Jamaica has to seize every opportunity available to it, to diversify and develop its economy while developing communities.

There is no better example of how to do this than through the development of the sport industry.

There is no better example of an industry that can unite, empower and transform the economic fortunes of every single community in Jamaica.

We already know of the recreational and health benefits of sports.

We also know that sports is one of the fastest growing industrial activity in the world today. For example, sports tourism is the fastest growth segment of the worldwide US$4.5 trillion global travel and tourism business. We know that in foreign countries where the industry is growing rapidly, Jamaican performers are in high demand.

This applies to cricket, soccer, track and field and netball.

How many people know, for example, that Jamaicans dominate the rapidly growing market for domino players?

And how many people know that Jamaica outranks every other country in the world in track & field in terms of World and Olympic medals earned on a per capita basis.

Today we have the technical expertise to train world-class athletes.

Many have received scholarships to attend Universities in the United States.

Many are attending our own Universities right here in Jamaica while pursuing their athletic careers.

In order to maintain and improve high levels of proficiency, we must continue to establish Academies, High Performance Centres and additional sports facilities.

Over the next year, my government through the Sport Development Foundation will undertake a detailed study of the contribution of sports to the GDP of Jamaica.

More importantly, Mr. Speaker, my Office will assess how much development potential lies unused in our communities and how to put it to the best use.
Then, we will assemble a complete plan to determine how we can become an even bigger player in this growing sector, so that we can use sports to boost every other linked industry, such as tourism and entertainment.

My Office will be playing an active role in ensuring that communities get a share of this pie. Some will get cricket; some football, some netball; some tennis; some boxing; some golf; some swimming and of course track & field athletics.but all will get into the act.

We will be reporting to the nation regularly as progress is made.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot overlook the outstanding performances of our sports men and women recently.

Here I speak of the Commonwealth Games and the CARIFTA Games, where our performances have ignited and renewed our sense of pride in being Jamaican.

We must ensure that there continues to be a high level of interaction and coordination between our various government agencies - Sport Development Foundation, The Institute of Sports, the Social Development Commission, the G.C. Foster College, the National Council on Sports, Independence Park Ltd,

and the National Sporting Associations, so that we will continue to see Jamaica as a major player in sports regionally and internationally.

We must also continue to forge links in sports through bilateral agreements as well as to seize every opportunity to promote sports tourism.

In promoting sports tourism, the Sports Museum which will be located at the National Stadium where our rich history of sporting accomplishments can be displayed as an attraction to visitors and Jamaicans alike.

As we look ahead Mr. Speaker, we can be confident that sports will continue to hold its rightful place as a beacon of success in our nation's rich cultural heritage.

TOUCHING THE PEOPLE'S MONEY

Mr Speaker, I now come to a fundamental area of disagreement which I have with the Opposition Leader. I urge him not to continue his threat of confrontation and bangarang. That is not the kind of example the people of Jamaica are expecting from us as leaders of this nation.

Let us not give the wrong signals to a country too tribalised and divided and desperately in need of peace. God knows we have had enough bangarang in this country! The country does not want anymore bangarang.

To the Opposition leader I say, "woman no wan' no bangarang!"

The integrity of the NIF must be protected and that the interests of contributors cannot be jeopardized. Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister, who as Minister of Labour and Social security was instrumental in moving the NIF from $1.5 billion in 1989 to the present $45 billion would not be reckless enough to endanger the interests of poor people.

The $1 billion from the National Insurance Fund to be used for small business to help poor people will not be at the expense of the integrity of the NIF or to the detriment of the contributors. I make that solemn commitment to the Jamaican Parliament and the Jamaican people.

But there is a fundamental issue at stake. How can the Opposition be complaining about the inadequate number of jobs and at the same time oppose job creation programmes.

Now you can't eat your cake and have it. If we must maintain prudent fiscal policies, reduce our borrowings while at the same time expand employment, what is wrong with creatively looking to see where we can find the funds to do so without affecting the budget?

If you are really serious about giving the people a chance, then why is the Opposition ranting and raving when there is an effort to do something concrete about giving the people a chance by using their money to help them and their children?

The Opposition Leader's position is similar to a father whose children are starving while he waits for his money on certificate of deposit to mature in another year, rather than using the money now to save their lives. There is no point is merely hoarding money while it could be productively employed.

Remember Mr. Speaker this money is not for consumption. It is for production and will be repaid. It is to ensure a better future for poor people. It is to help teach them to fish not merely to give them fish.

The NIS contributor who at 30 is unemployed with his children to feed and who has no hope of getting his benefits until 35 years down to road is given a better chance of surviving to take his full benefits when he is able to start his own business to help himself and his family now not later. This is balancing people's lives.

In 1989 when I was appointed Minister of Labour, the National Insurance Scheme had a paltry total of $1.5 billion lying dormant in an account at the Bank of Jamaica. The extent of the investments held by the NIS then covered shares in the Cement Company and a loan to the Factories Corporation of Jamaica which did not bring any meaningful returns to benefit pensioners.

Pensioners could not even receive meaningful increases in benefits. I decided to change that this situation.

I realised that in order to ensure that the scheme remained viable and could respond adequately to the growing number of pensioners it was necessary for changes to be made to both its structure and management. These changes have made the scheme stronger and better.

One such innovation initiated by me was the creation in 1990 of the National Insurance Investment Board with the requisite expertise and skills. The Board was charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing a rigorous and aggressive investment programme to guarantee the long term sustainability of the National Insurance Fund so that meaningful benefits could be paid to our pensioners.

The Board has broad based representation from critical groups such as employers, workers organizations and other professionals. It has guided the growth of the Fund and created a diversified and dynamic portfolio covering almost every sector of the economy.

The NI Fund is a driving force in the development of tourism in this country through its investments in hotels, including Braco Hotel which is 100% owned by the National Insurance Fund and El Greco Resort in Montego Bay which is 100% owned by the Fund. The Fund has significant holdings in Breezes Montego Bay and in Point Village in Negril.

We have invested in the development of Highway 2000 and in real estate. Some of the real estate holdings owned by the NIS Fund include the buildings housing:


The Passport Office at Constant Spring Road

The Electoral Office of Jamaica on Duke Street

Air Jamaica in downtown Kingston as well as in New Kingston

Ministry of Labour offices in all parishes

The Fund also owns large parcels of real estate for development in Montego Bay and St. Ann.

The NIF is contributing to national development through significant investments in shares and equity in some of the most successful companies in Jamaica.

These include:


Grace Kennedy

National Commercial Bank

BNS Jamaica Ltd

Lascelles de Mercado

Capital and Credit Financial Group in which the Fund has a 27% stake.

When money from the fund was being used to support big business and invest in large properties there was no cry from the Opposition but when it is to be used for poor to give them a chance we are hearing about bangarang. Who is really defending the interests of the poor?

The existence of the Investment Board has also resulted in an accountable and transparent system for the management of NIS funds. As a result of prudent management the Fund has enjoyed consistent growth averaging 18.5% annually over the period 1990-2006.
The net assets of the fund now stand at $42.6 billion.

Our approach has been to ensure that pensioners benefit from the increased income which accrues to the Fund from its investment activities. Based on the fund's performance periodic and worthwhile increases in benefits have been granted over the past 16 years to enable contributors to improve their standard of living. The most recent was the 66 2/3% increase to NIS beneficiaries which became effective on April 3, 2006.

This increased payout to pensioners is projected to cost an additional $10 billion over the next four years.

Our commitment to enhancing benefits to NIS contributors was also demonstrated with the introduction of the Pensioners Health Plan (NI/Gold) in December 2003 and the $375 million which was provided to pensioners for Hurricane relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Mr. Speaker,

This administration has a track record of providing significant increases in pension benefits to NIS contributors.

In 1990 the maximum pension payable was $80 per week. Today the maximum pension payable is $2,700 per week, representing an increase of more than three thousand per cent.

Even when inflation is taken into account, this represents a major and worthwhile improvement in the real value of benefits to pensioners.

In 1990 the funeral grant payable to contributors was $1,500. Today the amount is $40,000 - a more than 2,500 per cent increase.

The percentage increase in NIS payments in the 16 years between 1990 and 2006 is more than two times the percentage increase over the first 21 years of NIS payments between 1969-1990. This has been made possible by the phenomenal growth in the NIS Fund as a result of deliberate and prudent investments and financial management.

And Mr. Speaker, who really cares about the poor?

While these significant increases in payout have been made, the contribution rate has been increased on only three occasions over the past 16 years - in 1990, 1996 and 2003.

I want to assure the entire country that the people's NIS collections are in good hands. During the 11 years I was in charge of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security I led its growth and development and I have charged my new Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Derrick Kellier to protect and grow the people's money at all times.

Mr. Speaker,

I now turn to the fund's participation in the small business sector. I have said before that the government I lead is not only concerned with balancing the books and creating a healthy national economic picture on paper. In addition to prudent fiscal and macroeconomic management, we have an obligation and are committed to creating real wealth and prosperity for all our people.

Furthermore, we gave a commitment to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the Jamaican people by pursuing a major coordinated thrust for micro and small business development.

The investment of $1 Billion from the NIF for micro and small business credit is part of the strategic thinking of the NIF Board to participate in projects that have a significant developmental impact, specifically geared at economic growth and employment creation.

Moreover, it demonstrates my Government's belief in the honest, hardworking people of Jamaica. It is an investment, Mr. Speaker, in our people for which we do not apologise. It does not constitute a hand-out, but rather a prudent financial decision.

This investment at a concessionary rate of interest, 8%, has been made possible because of the Fund's robust performance. It has the potential to stimulate growth in the small business sector and generate increased employment opportunities in rural and urban communities.

Studies have shown that one of the major obstacles to the realization of the full potential of the small business sector has been the lack of affordable financing. Significant economic and social development benefits are therefore expected from this venture. Because, Mr. Speaker, I believe that young people with good business ideas should be able to use their ideas as collateral to access financing for their innovative business enterprises. This will not only create ideas for themselves but also for others.

The areas targeted for funding are:


Agriculture (crops, livestock and fisheries)

Agro-Processing

Manufacturing ( Furniture, Shoes & Apparel and
Small craft)

Services (Community and Personal Services)

Other small business activities with productive potential.

Approximately 5,000 small and medium size entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from this investment.

Mr. Speaker,

This is a very sound and carefully thought out initiative that will contribute significantly to a sector that has enormous potential for national development while at the same time contributing to the continued growth and viability of the National Insurance Fund.

While they on that side are talking the talk about giving poor people a chance, we on this side are walking the walk and are in fact giving poor people a chance, assisting the poor to balance their lives.

Nobody is talking about using money from the NHT or NIS in such a way as to jeopardize those schemes that would be irresponsible, reckless and crazy and I would never be party to that. But I remind the Leader of the Opposition of is own words in his more sober moments of his presentation last Thursday.

He made the point that "this debate cannot be just about the macro economy, primary surpluses and international credit ratings. It must be essentially about people, the quality of their lives their hopes for a better life and the chances of fulfillment of those hopes. That is why Governments are elected".

That is why a responsible and caring Government has to act, not just talk about giving people a chance to legitimately 'step up in a life!'

The $1 billion through the NIF will be disbursed through responsible organisations experienced in working with the small and medium-sized enterprises. These organizations, Mr. Speaker, possess a sound track record of efficient management and accountability.

Among the organizations are:


The National Development Foundation of Jamaica(NDFJ) will receive $100 million

the Micro Investment Development Agency(MIDA) which will receive $100 million

the Peoples Cooperative banks which will receive $250 million

Credit unions which will receive $250 million

The Jamaica Business Development Centre which will receive $50 million

And community-based organizations such as the churches with outreach development programmes which will receive $100 million

And $100 million which is to be disbursed to other institutions

Mr. Speaker please note that recently some $450 million of NIF funds were allocated to the NDFJ and the City of Kingston Credit Union. This is in addition to the $1 billion being provided during this fiscal year.

It is clear then that we are dong something about giving the people a chance and about transferring the resources of the poor to the poor.

Mr. Speaker I am very pleased to announce today that the Bank of Nova Scotia in support of our heightened thrust toward job and wealth creation will be offering a special loan program for some J$600 million which will be disbursed through the Development Bank of Jamaica.

$250 will be provided to the agricultural sector for seven years at a rate of 7.625% per annum for on lending through the peoples Cooperative bank to assist our small farmers.

In addition, $350 million will be provided to the tourism sector for 7 years at an interest rate of 8% per annum for on lending to small hotels Both facilities be guaranteed by the Government of Jamaica. This Mr. Speaker is a major initiative by BNS and will go a far way to boosting our smaller entrepreneurs. We are not just talking about giving the people a chance and about building wealth.

In addition the Government itself will pump some $250 million in agriculture. Another $145 million will be spent on irrigation, expansion of green house construction and hydrophonics.

In the rural diversification programme we are spending $90 million and in special projects in agriculture including tree crops goat rearing apiculture, bee-keeping and ornamental fish we are spending an additional $150 million. We are going to be spending $160 million to expand production of thyme, pepper, vegetables and other crops of interest to small farmers.

Through our investments in agriculture we are projecting the creation of 2,500 jobs. We are not just talking about giving people a chance we are doing something practical about it.

INVESTMENTS

There is no doubt Mr. Speaker that the most impressive package of investments is presently underway in the country.

These investments are related to strategic industry clusters, identified in the National Industrial Policy. They include: Tourism, Mining, Shipping and Berthing, Information and Communications Technology and Agro-processing.

Many of these investments are now being implemented: they are real and not a wish list. We need to organise ourselves in a way that will maximise, nationally, at the enterprise level, at the community level and for individuals the impact of these investments.

They will help to bring about a better quality of life for all, eradicating poverty and creating wealth, because that requires investment and increased production.

These are vital components of economic growth. We are passionate about achieving growth that has associated with it the widest possible range of employment opportunities. As part of the growth agenda I am insistent that we facilitate, encourage and assist the Jamaican people who have the entrepreneurial spirit to grasp income-generation opportunities.

In the Jamaican context, I can think of no other area that offers more readily available prospects for jobs or other income-generating activities, than tourism. This partly explains why tourism was selected as a lead economic sector.

I was there and led the completion of the Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development. This is the road map which is now guiding the expansion of the industry.

Job Creation

As I will spell out later Mr. Speaker, there are more than 12,000 new hotel rooms being built, or are to begin construction shortly. This is on top of the 2,000 put into operation since we started implementing the Tourism Master Plan.

This expansion represents more than a 50% increase in the country's room stock, and will generate conservatively 25,000 new permanent direct jobs. In the construction phase, of course, Mr. Speaker, at least half as many jobs should be generated according to the implementation schedules of the developers. Communities in the areas where these projects are being implemented are already feeling the impact.

Persons involved in the tourism industry know the multiplier effect of activity in the industry, and that for each direct job, there are probably two or three spin-offs. These are in the areas of:


Agricultural products and processed foods

Manufactured products, including chemicals, furniture, beverages, etc.

Ground transportation and tours

Landscaping services

Art and craft

Entertainment

Personal services

Financial services

Housing and real estate

Cultural heritage products

In the Mining sector the first phase of the Jamalco expansion is underway. In investment dollars, this will be the single biggest project in our country's history. At the peak of implementation, it will employ nearly 3,000 construction workers.

Recently, on my first Official Visit since taking office, I held discussions with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, regarding the supply of natural gas for the Jamalco plant, as well as for electricity generation. We are working with Alcoa, whose chairman visited with me last week, to finalise all the arrangements for the next, and larger, phase of the project. The project will generate demand for:


Accommodation

Entertainment services

Transportation

Food services

Metal fabrication

Communication and financial services

Security services

Mobile and construction equipment

CONTAINER TERMINAL

The capacity of the Port of Kingston has been expanding on a number of occasions to accommodate the business flowing into Kingston. The Government has now embarked on yet another phase of expansion which will more than double the present capacity.

It will be among the worlds largest ports, and with new contracts with the major shipping lines, the development programme will have to be accelerated to handle the volume of the cargo.

The Port Authority of Jamaica will be establishing a logistic centre which is a new distribution Free Zone, at a location near to the transhipment port. It will handle goods at various stages of the manufacturing process originating in Asia and bound for markets in North, Central and South Americas. The target is to have 100 companies registered and operating in the centre in the first phase of its development. This will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs.

Already, four companies have begun operations.

In the area of ICT that holds so much potential, 200,000 ft. of office space, especially in Kingston and Montego Bay, is now required to meet immediate demand. This estimate is based on requirements of firms that are already operating in Jamaica. These investments will involve 3,000 new jobs.

In terms of the road infrastructure which has implications for both employment creation and physical improvements, this year the Government will be spending over $3 billion on road works. This includes


$400 million for disaster mitigation

$600 million on retaining walls,

$1.6 billion on road rehabilitation, and

$400 million on the airport road.

Over $532 million will be spent on flood control including work on the Sandy Gully Bridge.

$34 million will be spent on bridge repairs.

$200 million has been allocated for roads under Local Government.

Mr. Speaker, we will be doing something about the appearance of our tourism towns. The Government is spending $100 million on the beautification of resort areas and entrances to the big cities as part of our general tourism expansion programme. Jamaica's Beauty - Our Duty.

Through the Ministry with responsibility for Water, we are spending $100 million to improve water supply systems throughout the country.

Foreign and Trade Policies

Mr. Speaker,

Isn't it amazing that the Leader of the Opposition spoke for nearly three long hours in this Debate but said not a single word about our external relationships. I know that we live in a globalised world. I know that everything Jamaica does affect other countries and everything they do affect our country.

Trade policies affect every single community whether it is Lionel Town with sugar, Golden Grove with banana, citrus farmers in St. Catherine, the coffee farmers in the hills of St. Andrew, St. Thomas and Portland.

Workers in factories are affected by decisions made abroad. Our Diaspora and their contributions through remittances, investments and knowledge are affected by decisions on immigration are also affected.

We cannot have a budget debate and not speak to these things. Is it that they do not want this country to know that they are out of sync with global realities?

Mr. Speaker,

My administration will follow on the practice of my predecessor, and indeed previous Prime Ministers, in the use of the foreign and trade policy tools as an important part of the development process as we strive to meet the Millennium Development Goals as determined by Jamaica and the other members of the international community in this interdependent world.

There are some things which, Mr. Speaker, we by determined policies must do for ourselves while working with our development partners in the international community to assist us in achieving the broad visions and objectives we set for ourselves. In this regard, my administration will pay especial attention to the completion of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), which was inaugurated in January 2006 by six of the fifteen countries of the CARICOM Region, including Jamaica.

It should be noted, Mr. Speaker, that our capacity as a Region to complete the important negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) now taking place between CARICOM /CARIFORUM and the European Union depends critically on our completion of the CSME arrangements.

The Leader of the Opposition and his Party in their opposition to the CSME need to now recognize that in a world of large economic blocs or groupings, neither Jamaica nor any single country can go it alone. The European Union, Mr. Speaker, will not negotiate with Jamaica alone, but only with an integrated CARICOM Region together with the Dominican Republic.

Similarly, should there be any negotiations with the United States on an alternative to the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), in light of the failure to conclude a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the US is making it clear that negotiation must be with CARICOM and not Jamaica or any individual Member States of CARICOM.

Mr. Speaker, time has long past and the Opposition must come out of its anti-regional stance to recognize that the world has moved on since the Referendum on West Indies Federation of 1960, and so must we!

Mr. Speaker, we continue to receive significant advantages from bilateral relations with the many countries globally. Many of those countries are represented with resident missions here in Jamaica, and we thank them for their significant contribution. We must add to this the key international organizations in which we have membership.

We will continue to strengthen our bilateral relations with the countries of the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, and continue our leadership role in the various multilateral organizations to which we are active members as we work together for world peace and international development for all our peoples.

Mr. Speaker,

A key initiative of our foreign policy is to work with our bilateral partners to assist us with providing foreign language training to our early childhood population in our urban and rural communities. Children learn quickest at an early age. Without working knowledge of a foreign language we will not be able to take our rightful place in this globalised world.

Continued in following post...

Butsiyah
05-09-2006, 07:39 PM
I wish to commend those schools that are already introducing children to foreign languages, however, I am determined that the same opportunity should be given to all children. To this end, we will be giving consideration to commencing a pilot programme to introduce foreign languages in early childhood education.

Mr. Speaker, foreign languages are critical to Jamaica's smooth integration into today's global society and economy.

Gender

Mr. Speaker I am committed to finding new and creative ways to work towards a more secure and prosperous society for women, men and children. To this end, I will be emphasizing strategies that lead to the achievement of gender justice, equality, development and peace.

The challenges of our time are more than the economic ones. There are still some serious social issues that are defined by rural and urban poverty, the feminisation and threat to sustainable development of the HIV aids pandemic, cross border and internal human trafficking which expose young girls to dehumanizing sexual experiences, the rise in gender-based violence and the abuse of children, the educational underachievement of the poor in general and poor boys in particular and the need to empower women and girls to take their rightful place in the Jamaican society.

Mr. Speaker, these are some of the indications of the lack of gender equality and justice for all.

My emphasis on community empowerment and partnership with all stakeholders will result in the strengthening of the governmental and non- governmental sectors in the delivery of gender-sensitive programs and policies.

The empowerment of women, traditionally the culture-bearers and carers in the nurturing of the next generation is critical. For on this rests the expected desired outcomes of the sort of social transformation which will socialize the youth around the values of tolerance one to another, mutual respect in relating to both elders and peer groups, collaborative and cooperative endeavours starting with family and extending to village, yard, community, parish and nation.

Gender equity challenges Government and the entire society to facilitate an equitable percentage of women to offer themselves as candidates in Local Government and Parliamentary Elections, bearing in mind that some countries are now making specific reservations for women.

As Prime Minister, I have assumed responsibility for a number of areas including the Bureau of Women's Affairs and Women's Centre Foundation. I intend to give focus and serious consideration to the level of human and financial resources that can promote positive gender relations at all levels of the society.

Mr. Speaker, I will use my vision of change to enter into a process of consultation with our established international and national partners to plan a more proactive and sustainable approach to the achievement of gender justice and equality in the Jamaican society

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of Constitutional Reform, let me point out that it is this side which has always been urging that side. There are three main elements that have been on the agenda since the establishment in 1992 of the Constitutional Reform Commission headed by the late Mr. Justice James Kerr. These elements are:


First, the establishment of Jamaica as a republic within the Commonwealth.

Second, the substitution of a regional court as our final court of appeal in place of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which will sit in Jamaica to hear appeals from the Jamaican Court of Appeal.

Third, the recasting of our Charter of Rights in our constitution so as to bring its provisions more in line with international developments in respect of human rights and enable us to respond effectively in this critical area of national life.

For my part, there is now no major obstacle standing in the way of the agreement necessary to change the constitution to a republican form of Parliamentary government. The President, who would be selected in such a way as to make the office a symbol of national unity, would have the responsibility of making certain sensitive appointments which should not appear to be in any way partisan.

Concerning the substitution of the Caribbean Court of Justice for the Privy Council, we recall that such an idea was first introduced to Jamaica some thirty-six years ago by the then Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Hugh Lawson Shearer. A number of hurdles have been placed in the way over these many years.

Discussions between the Attorney General and the Parliamentary opposition members who speak on legal affairs in this House and the Senate have now arrived at a point where a formula acceptable to both sides could be reached.

With respect to the third element of constitutional reform, the revised Charter of Rights has been the subject of the most careful and pains- taking discussions over several years. The Report of a Select Committee of Parliament is expected to be presented to the House and the Senate before the Independence celebrations this year.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

This government fully recognizes and accepts that an efficient justice system is an essential ingredient in the achievement and maintenance of an acceptable level of public order and in elevating the national quality of life. In my address when I was sworn in as Prime Minister at King's House, some five weeks ago, I signalled at the earliest stage that:

"the first pledge to the Jamaican people is to advance human rights and individual liberty. . While the State has a responsibility to protect the society as a whole, it must never, in the execution of that responsibility, sacrifice individual liberty. We cannot build the harmony and peace that the society so desperately needs unless all Jamaicans know that they will be treated with dignity and respect."

We are fully committed to the promotion of the two major elements of this endeavour, namely: the modernization of our judicial system, with particular emphasis on increasing the human and technical resources and the physical infrastructure involved, and completing the process of constitutional reform. We acknowledge that achieving these objectives depends on the extent to which we can summon the political will and dedicate the appropriate financial resources.

These in turn will require a high level of cooperation on the part of the government, the parliamentary opposition, the legal profession and other non-governmental bodies that are involved in the protection and promotion of human rights and social justice. I totally accept that the government has the obligation to take the lead in inviting and encouraging such cooperation and it is my sincere pledge to provide both leadership and personal example in this regard.

As we look back over the years, however, there is no denying the fact that successive administrations had given a low priority to the financing needs of our whole system of justice.

One significant item tells the story. Over the past twenty-two years a grand total of four hundred and fifty-five million dollars ($455m) has been the accumulated budgeted allocation for Capital Expenditure in this sector.

For this financial year, the Capital Budget of four hundred and thirty-six million dollars ($436m) for the Ministry of Justice, approved in the Estimates of Expenditure, is the most generous since we attained our Independence in 1962. In this year alone, therefore, the Capital Budget is almost the same as what had been approved for the past twenty-two years combined.

Mr. Speaker,

Improving the administration of justice is an important plank in addressing the scourge of crime and violence in our society today because among other things, we know that the murder rate is associated with revenge killings.

As a nation we are deeply concerned about the issue of crime and violence and we must summon every reserve of determination to eradicate this scourge from our midst. Our success in this area will demand national unity, bi-partisan cooperation and community involvement.

Today I will not be addressing the issue of national security strategy in detail. In the Government we have done several studies and reports on the issue. Last weekend, I received another one called the McMillian task force which was commissioned by the Leader of the Opposition. I believe that it deserves careful review.

Mr. Speaker, I intend, sometime in the near future to make a focused presentation on National Security.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Speaker, I have announced some concrete things here today. I have spoken of a number of practical initiatives which will positively impact people's lives in terms of job creation, small business expansion, making credit more accessible to small entrepreneurs, uplifting the lives of our farmers, boosting training. I have spoken of the big projects in tourism, infrastructure and the service sector.

I have come with a programme to balance people's lives while we balance the books

I have supplied more than enough lively copy for the news writers and headline writers. The commentators have enough concrete proposals to discuss. But for me, Mr. Speaker, that is not the crux of the matter. That does not go to the heart of the issue.

At the centre of all the projects, the initiatives, and the plans is the development of people. I believe in a people-centered development.

People are not just the means of development They are the object and the focus of development.

Development is not essentially about ports, highways, factory buildings, fancy hotels, impressive telecommunications facilities, rates of industrialization or Gross domestic product. It is about the development of people, the improvement in the quality of life, the spiritual upliftment of people.

What is my vision for Jamaica? To those who say get on with the work and forget about vision and about the preaching, I say get on with what work and to what end?

If we don't have a vision as to where we want to go, any road will take us there. The point is not just to be busy doing things. It is about being busy doing the right things. And it is only your vision, your philosophy which determines where you go.

My vision for Jamaica is not fuzzy. It is very clear. I have a vision of a Jamaica where we are at peace with one another. A Jamaica where we cherish our diversity and differences, not see them as a reason to fuss and fight. A Jamaica where conflict resolution skills are natural; where we have honed to a fine art, dialogue and reason rather than disrespect and violence.

For make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how many task forces we set up and how brilliant are their recommendations, if the Jamaican people do not practice a culture of love, respect, honour and good neigbourliness, we will never tame the beast of violent crime.

I have a vision of Jamaica where people see themselves first and foremost as Jamaicans, not members of this or that class or ethic group, this or that gender, this or that religion or this or that party. Just Jamaicans.

If we begin to see ourselves as One Jamaica, striving after a common set of goals then there won't be any challenge or any force too great for us to overcome. These are not just fine words, Mr. Speaker.

History has demonstrated over and over again that when a people have confidence in themselves and a unity of purpose, extraordinary things can be achieved.

Jamaica desperately needs a common focus a common vision, a common set of goals, which pull us together rather than apart. Our bond of unity must be unbreakable. Our bonds of unity must be so strong that nothing can sever it.

I have a vision of Jamaica in which there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens. A Jamaica in which each child has an equal opportunity to the finest education and where educational opportunities are not determined by class and money. My vision is of an educational system which delivers first-class education throughout the system, not one with pockets of excellence and areas of deficiency. If education is the vehicle to transport the poor out of their poverty then that education has to be high-quality.

I have a vision of a Jamaica in which communities are engaged, energized and eager to participate in molding their own future. Only when communities are involved, invigorated and inclusive can we drive out the criminals and the extortionists who are draining the lifeblood of this nation. When people have mechanisms to impact decisions affecting their lives, our democratic structures will be strengthened and we will be emboldened against all those anti-social forces, which would hold us back.

I see a Jamaica where our senior citizens are respected, admired and adored for their wisdom, service and good example. Not a Jamaica where the old feel neglected and unwanted; not a Jamaica where they feel vulnerable and afraid but one in which the young come to them for support and freely offer them their love, kindness and warmth.

My life's work has been to build a certain kind of Jamaica. My mission has been to uplift the lot of the poor and marginalized, the voiceless, the defenseless. I hurt for that single mother, rising before the sun in he morning to send off her children to school; scraping what she can find to provide lunch for the day and nourishing the hope amidst her pain, that one day they will make a life for themselves.

I feel pain for the thousands of domestic helpers, with their own children to care for, trying to eke out a living on the minimum wage while worrying about what w will happen to her young teenaged daughter living in that inner-city where criminals can just send for her to satisfy their perverse and criminal desire.

I think of that mother who recently looked at her eight-year-old daughter with tears welling up in her eyes and saying that her biggest concern was not even the hunger that she feels regularly but the fear - the awful dread - that very soon she will have to find somewhere to go before the criminal who runs the area finds her.

I hurt for the father, wanting to be responsible, wanting to help his children but who can't find a job, despite his best efforts. I feel his pain. I share his anger and frustration at hearing the criticisms about his inability to support his family.

We in these hallowed chambers must keep in the forefront of our minds that it is not about us. It is not about Brother B or Sister P. It is about the people of Jamaica, it is about the poor who are desperately hoping that what we do here and in Government will have a meaningful impact on them.

The youth are depending on us first to show the kind of civility and courtesy, which they themselves can emulate. We have to be careful how we speak to one another in this House for we have to set an example to our youth who represent our future.

We have an obligation to our youth to build a society in which the young people of this country can feel they secure. They have to feel that they have a future in Jamaica. They have to feel that this is the place in which they can achieve and live their dreams.

We have an obligation moreso to our children. One of the most painful experiences I have had over the last year have been those tragic experiences involving our children. The atrocities committed against our children bring me deep pain, Mr. Speaker. When we shed the innocent blood of our children, do we realize that we are heaping judgment on ourselves?

Every child in Jamaica must feel loved and has the right to protection. I want to see a Jamaica in which our children are safe, healthy, educated and loved.

I want to see a Jamaica in which we can boast not only of the number of women who have top corporate positions, or of the number of female achievers there are in Jamaica. I want us to boast not only of the number of women moving up in leadership positions in the civic organizations, and the established churches.

I would like to see all our women empowered to fulfill their God-given potential. I want to see our women get the respect they deserve as human beings and not just seen as objects of men's gratification or used in men's power games. My role as Prime Minister is not to exalt myself but to help to lift up all the women of Jamaica.

My rise to this office says to every woman, every man, in this country irrespective of class or position in life that you too can achieve whatever you dream; you do not have to recognize any limits to your achievement. You can be all that you want to be, unemcumbered by your gender or your geography.

As Prime Minister, I hope to inspire men and women across Jamaica, uptown, downtown and out of town to believe in themselves and see themselves as equal to every other human being.

We have all the ingredients of success. We just have to know how to put them together to create the right exotic blend. We have the richest cultural heritage in this hemisphere. Which other country of our size has produced a music which has received the world-renown and the hype internationally as our reggae music? Which other country of our size has produced a Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Jimmy Cliff or a Shaggy?

Indeed how many countries in the world-even those with populations in the hundreds of millions-have produced an artiste whose name is recognized in the farthest reaches of the world?

Which country of our size has ever had the level of success which we had in the field of sport particularly athletics. Let me ask again: How many countries large or small have had our record of dazzling achievement in sports? Jamaica out-ranks every other country on a per capita basis in terms of Olympic medals. We have produced world-class fashion models and our fashion has heavily influenced American pop culture.

In dance, drama, sculpture and painting our work has been world-class. I believe with every fibre of my being that we are a great people. But all of us must believe this also.

All of us must believe that together we can succeed.

Buju Banton reminded us some years ago that "its not an easy road' But the journey can be lighter if we walk together in peace love and harmony. The journey will be lighter with God as our guide and our constant Light. The journey will be lighter when we pull out all the stops in the way as trod this road to Zion. Together we can succeed.

Hopyoneson
05-09-2006, 08:31 PM
great speech, read it in its entirety, in this day and age Golding and clowns like Davies still talking about bangarang. Well thought out, good sprinkiling of religion but not too much she is paying attention to the public concerns which is important. I wish her luck as I would like to return and set up some ventures and enjoy yard as a young person.

papaD
05-10-2006, 02:47 AM
Hi

Watched much of the speech on JIS (It did go on). It was the first parliamentary debate in jamaica I have seen.

I have to say that there were some interesting outbursts especiallly from Derrick Smith and Karl Samuda. Make of it what you will(Look at the webcast - I hope it will be shown again for those who haven't seen).

I think the body language of Omar and Peter was interesting. Maxine Henry Wilson does not support the Prime Minister and she makes it plain by her body language and facial expressions, not even a tap on the table!! Is she good enough to style that way and get into a Portia mandated cabinet - we shall see?

The speech itself was far too slow at the beginning(Love and Thanks stylee) and I think the religious imagery might wear thin after a while. People need to get to the point of how it will affect them. PMPSM spoke about spending money but little further than investments that look good. I feel she was very weak on the National Debt and borrowing (and other contingencies) and I think this will come back to haunt her as you do have to make significant attempts to balance the budget before you can do the kind of social policy she hopes or at least get it down substantially to make the significant impact she hopes for.

Clever using the theme balancing peoples lives and saying she is here and you are there and you will be there for a long time to Mr Golding. Whilst he is seemingly more erudite she is more 'street' in the sense that she can mix it though she is subtle with it 'You and me are both from St Catherine...'

Woman no wan no bangarang!!! (Dat did sweet me!!)

I will be fascinated to here Perkins on Line and the speeches reception, (Today, 10th May) and will be listening to NNN and Good Evening Jamaica on MP3.

Interesting times ahead! /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Hopyoneson
05-10-2006, 09:37 AM
[ QUOTE ]

Interesting times ahead! /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes indeed, how was the buffering on the webcast because last time I used JIS it was so slow, audio was fine though. Maxine Wilson will not be in the new cabinet, that is almost a given, sometimes you have to keep your friends close and your enemies closer till you can dispatch them, I agree the debt servicing was light and not too much mention of Hurricane season preperation apart from spending on certain projects. She is very street smart, I was surprised she brought up the don and young girl situation as most people try to hide dem tings, and it really not right to treat girl and women dem sort a way deh. I look forward to how her ditractors gonna spin this one, man she mek Golding look like him out of touch without being too confrontational, she mention how yu noh want we touch the money fi help ppor people but yu no say nothing when we a fund hotel wid the same money, or when you was MP of construction him use the money fi meet IMF test rather than help the people. She is investing in the Jamaican people, I think that more than ever is a great leap foward. She clearly detailed the jamaican dream, so mi a wait and see too. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

niceniss
05-10-2006, 12:10 PM
[ QUOTE ]
http://www.jis.gov.jm/PMspeeches/images/20060508T160000-0500_8795_JIS_CONTRIBUTION_BY_THE_HON___PORTIA_SIM PSON_MILLER__PRIME_MINISTER_TO_THE_2006_2007_BUDGE T_DEBATE_IN_THE_HOUSE_OF_REPRESENT_1.jpg
[b]It is for me a blessing to be afforded the opportunity to participate in another historic day in our Nation and this Honourable House.

For the first time a woman rises as Prime Minister of Jamaica to deliver a Budget Presentation. I cannot help reflecting on the struggle over the years of exemplary women such as Nanny, our only female National Heroine, Mary Seacole, Hyacinth Lightbourne, Iris Tulloch, May Farquharson, Amy Jacques Garvey, Amy Bailey, Lady Bustamante, Edna Manley, and the hundreds of unsung heroines.

My presence in this capacity is a tribute to all the women who have sat in the Parliament and Parish Councils over the years. It is also a tribute for those who are sitting members today and indeed a tribute to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces and daughters in Jamaica.

Let me, therefore, ask the men in this Chamber on both sides of the House to applaud the women of Jamaica for their tremendous contribution to our nation over these many years.

Indeed Mr. Speaker, my presence is also a tribute to all the leaders of our country who have in one way or another contributed to the advancement of women in our nation.



[/ QUOTE ]

why did she need to say that? she now has the job, why doesnt she get on with it instead of remind us of her womanhood? is she stupid?

niceniss
05-10-2006, 12:15 PM
[ QUOTE ]



As a firm believer in the Bible, it has not escaped my attention that I am the seventh Prime Minister of Jamaica.

To those who understand the significance and symbolism of numbers in the Bible, it will be recognized that seven is the number for wholeness, completion and fullness.

It is perhaps not without significance, too, Mr. Speaker, that today marks 40 days since my swearing-in as Prime Minister. Again, another significant number in Biblical symbolism. We recall, for example, that Jesus was prepared for His ministry after his forty days of fasting.

Today I feel prepared and spiritually filled for my service on behalf of all the people, but especially the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, who need me most.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, as you heard over and over in the refrain on Thursday, "She was there''. Yes, I was there and now I am here. But I am here to tell the Opposition Leader that he won't have the opportunity to move from there to here!

So continue to have fun at my expense, for you will be there for a very long time!

I will be here working to uplift the lives of the poor, women, children, business people - large and small - the weak and strong in the entire nation.

Mr. Speaker,
My participation in the Government for the past 17 years is undeniable. I was there. Indeed, during this time, some great things have been achieved for the people.

Those of us who participated should be proud of these achievements, despite some shortcomings. There has never been a perfect government anywhere in the world - show me one.

But you know what Mr. Speaker, through the ups and downs of these past seventeen years I never went flip flopping here, there and everywhere.

I never changed colour from one to the other and back again. And when things got tough I did not turn my back and run only to return when I could find no place of abode.

Instead Mr. Speaker, I was guided by Isaiah 40:31.

"They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint."

And as the song says "Teach me Lord, teach me Lord how to wait."

Mr. Speaker, I recommend the Prophet Isaiah to my friend opposite.

There seems to be general agreement that the quality of this year's Budget Debate has been high.

But, Mr. Speaker, several of the proposals put forward by the Leader of the Opposition sounded very familiar.

He has clearly been listening, observing and reading. In response I say,



[/ QUOTE ]
Blithering Idiot!


why doesnt she speak of crime? I wonder where she thinks her superstition will get her-- trying to pull the religious wool over people's eyes once more...

Wahalla
05-10-2006, 01:11 PM
[ QUOTE ]
My participation in the Government for the past 17 years is undeniable. I was there. Indeed, during this time, some great things have been achieved for the people.


[/ QUOTE ]

Well Golding seems to have forced her on the defensive.. in his budget presentation.. with his "she was there" needle....

Me being cynical this reminds me of a Aunts Jamaican wedding speech... down to her quoting the national anthem...And the long rambling nature of it...

Now we know she is a christian can she stop with the prolestysing.. must admit with her admission thst "she was there" makes me think of max romeo lyric

"they fed our father on sour grapes
and set our teeth on edge"

niceniss
05-10-2006, 01:15 PM
she kept focusing on Golding because he delivered a vision for the country and pointed people towards the fact that she was a part of the govt during Jamaica's downward spiral. maybe she felt she need to defend and cover. she is getting rather stale.

hear that there are fallouts within her party over her leadership...

her superstions about her being the seventh(a biblical number) prime minister and how it has been 40 days since her appointment as prime minister and her budget speech(like jesus's 40 days wilderness thing) is at the point of ridiculousness.
the evil creature is trying her damndest to make her leadership seem as biblical and I find her religiousity mixed with the politics of running the country very dangerous. she will do anything and claim it to be the will of God...

conscience
05-11-2006, 07:21 AM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
http://www.jis.gov.jm/PMspeeches/images/20060508T160000-0500_8795_JIS_CONTRIBUTION_BY_THE_HON___PORTIA_SIM PSON_MILLER__PRIME_MINISTER_TO_THE_2006_2007_BUDGE T_DEBATE_IN_THE_HOUSE_OF_REPRESENT_1.jpg
[b]It is for me a blessing to be afforded the opportunity to participate in another historic day in our Nation and this Honourable House.

For the first time a woman rises as Prime Minister of Jamaica to deliver a Budget Presentation. I cannot help reflecting on the struggle over the years of exemplary women such as Nanny, our only female National Heroine, Mary Seacole, Hyacinth Lightbourne, Iris Tulloch, May Farquharson, Amy Jacques Garvey, Amy Bailey, Lady Bustamante, Edna Manley, and the hundreds of unsung heroines.

My presence in this capacity is a tribute to all the women who have sat in the Parliament and Parish Councils over the years. It is also a tribute for those who are sitting members today and indeed a tribute to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces and daughters in Jamaica.

Let me, therefore, ask the men in this Chamber on both sides of the House to applaud the women of Jamaica for their tremendous contribution to our nation over these many years.

Indeed Mr. Speaker, my presence is also a tribute to all the leaders of our country who have in one way or another contributed to the advancement of women in our nation.



[/ QUOTE ]

why did she need to say that? she now has the job, why doesnt she get on with it instead of remind us of her womanhood? is she stupid?

[/ QUOTE ]

You nonsensical twit. It is the truth that she speaks. It is the first time that a female is doing what she is doing. As far as getting on with the job, I don't think she ever stopped. Be proud, if not for anything else but for her being woman, BLACK POWERFUL WOMAN-not gal.

niceniss
05-11-2006, 08:15 AM
u likkle insect, mek me tell u supmn, u see when u see me mek a comment noh respond. u cyaan mek comment widout calling smaddy names because u incapable intellectually, so just ignore me post dem. /forums/images/graemlins/70400-talktohand.gif

Tuff Gong
05-12-2006, 12:30 AM
Sounds like idiot did as idiot does....read one of her biggest backers. This funny and pathetic all at once:

Portia's poor delivery will not stop her

Mark Wignall
Thursday, May 11, 2006

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's budget presentation on Tuesday represents to me a major plank of the anti-climax following her joyful victory on February 25 when she relegated Peter Phillips, Omar Davies and Karl Blythe to those who "could have been".

It was uninspiring and at times flat, tentative and in instances hazy, and she spent too much time leafing through the prepared text as if it represented all that was available to her on her main day in Parliament. Where she could have drawn on her vast experience in politics and sifted through the oratory of Michael Manley, the less-than-animated word counting of PJ Patterson, the incisive and sociologically focused presentation of Eddie Seaga, the recent dramatics of Bruce Golding and her own flair for reaching large numbers of people, she stuck her head in the prepared text and repeated word for word something that was never made for her.

Many of us in the so-called intelligentsia have cut and carved through her budget presentation and a significant percentage have given her a poor grade. Although less than 15 per cent of the adult population have traditionally followed up budget presentations, one suspects that this time around with the lady at the helm, that percentage would have been increased, based on the fact that Portia is not only liked but there is genuine love for her by the poor of this country whose voting power resonates much louder than a few highly educated people making "pooh pooh" over her presentation.

In one breath I am forced to ask why we are making such a fuss over words spoken in Parliament, when we know that in many instances there is many a slip between what is proposed and what actually becomes the reality months down the road. We do this because it provides the various media houses with grist for their ever-churning mill. How many of us in the media will, in nine months' time, reflect on Portia's presentation and report that the funding was realised for this, she misled us on that, or she deliberately took us through a song-and-dance routine just to secure an election win? Not many.

Historically, the media have always highlighted the announcements and the presentations while being soft or just shoddy on tracking what takes place at the time when the pronouncements indicated something "earth-shattering" would have taken place.

For me I have hardly ever commented on budget presentations. In my need to bring some currency to them, whenever I go to the streets and the corners to glean the viewpoints of the woman and man at street level, it is at best non-existent. In the end, to us in the media and the intelligentsia, the PNP administration may be raiding money from the NIS and NHT funds as an indication of a failed mandate, but to the "real" voter, if it indicates that his life in rural Jamaica or the urban, inner-city hell will be made better, the man and woman there will probably say to Portia, "Raid, lady, raid."

To the best of my knowledge, Portia has never made any major parliamentary presentations outside of her sectoral contributions which were hardly given much media coverage. Watching her on Tuesday, it was obvious that she was not quite ready for the big-time parliamentary presentation. She reacted poorly to the heckling, and where she should have demonstrated that her skin was thick and her back broader than most, at times I sensed that it has not quite reached to her that she is the PRIME one among many.

Emboldened by Bruce Golding's excellent presentation of last Thursday, the Opposition JLP members went to town on her. As par for the course, Portia should have smiled, used her charm on them and gone beyond just making the claim that when Golding made his presentation, he was allowed to do so by the government members.

Even worse, as the jitters increased and she added a few "Hs" where none existed even in the nearest ballpark, at one stage Omar Davies gazed down at his tie, Peter Phillips appeared as if he wanted to tie his shoelaces and the face of Maxine Henry-Wilson indicated a kind of perverse win in what to me was a failure in the time which should have been Portia's finest hour.

Much of what occurred in her presentation probably has little to do with the actual speech. Portia's real enemy lies within the ranks of her own party, the PNP. I cannot recall another time in the post-independence period of our parliamentary democracy that the PNP has been so polarised.

Where the prime minister should have drawn on the full cooperation of her Cabinet in constructing her presentation, one sensed that only a few close comrades and her speech writer were with the prime minister in her maiden budget presentation.

In a sense, therefore, she will evoke sympathy from the poor and the powerless and even people like myself who recognise those in her party who are in opposition to her ascendancy to the big post. They are in it for their egos, their friends, themselves, and a corporate elite whose mercenary qualities are the stuff of legend.

Over the years we have been taken in by their powers of articulation and their ability to strike the right chords with the media and those in the business class whose legs straddle south Florida and Kingston. In the time that they have been at the helm, their sweet words and the perfect, smooth timing of their deliveries have not transformed the face of Jamaica beyond what the advancement of time and progress in a global age would have done.

It would have been most pleasing for me today to have written a column which was filled with praise for Portia's budget presentation. As much as I love her I cannot in all honesty do so. But knowing that those who had taken the a priori approach that not only was she unfit to handle the awesome responsibilities of prime ministership but she was too "people-oriented", I am forced to remain in her corner because their objectives are attuned to maintaining themselves in power while their mercenary pals feed at the trough first.

She is new to the post and certainly, with constructive criticism, she will recognise that there are many in Jamaica who are still looking to her for effective leadership. Talking sweetly and having the media heap praises are important aspects of leadership, but the real crunch is in doing the things which will make our lives better. In the interim, the prime minister needs to learn how to sell crap to the intelligentsia, many of whom are prepared to judge her based on the perfume she wears. It is time she wakes up to that.

[email protected]

Portia's poor delivery will not stop her (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20060510T220000-0500_104338_OBS_PORTIA_S_POOR_DELIVERY_WILL_NOT_ST OP_HER.asp)

PILOT
05-12-2006, 11:13 AM
Balancing lives or making bangarang?

Barbara Gloudon
Friday, May 12, 2006

MRS SIMPSON MILLER made her debut in her first budget presentation as PM on Tuesday. If anybody thought that they could rattle her cage, they soon found out what they may have forgotten - she has been soldiering on the political road since the stormy 70s to now. Never mind the huggy-kissy. She is no pushover. After a bit of a soppy start, overladen at times, I thought, with a bit too much sentimentality, the PM got down to brass tacks.

The Opposition made the mistake of trying to heckle her. It didn't work. For a while, however, it seemed that bangarang might hijack the proceedings. The prime minister is no stranger to "throw word". She can give as much as she gets. Clearly, she felt that some liberties had been taken with her by the Opposition Leader in his presentation to the House last week and she came prepared to exonerate herself.

"She was there," was Mr Golding's refrain last week, when he enumerated what he saw as the failings of the PNP administration. He did not hesitate to rub it in - that the PM could pretend that she had nothing to do with what went wrong. "She was there," he intoned, using the refrain to emphasise the list of omission and co-mission as he saw it.
The prime minister was having none of it. She went on the offensive early, like a boxer determined not to let her opponent send her to the canvas. She came out swinging: "Yes, I was here. I did not go anywhere. I did not change my colours and come back, I was here," a clear jibe at Mr Golding for his ephemeral leadership of the NDM to which he decamped from the JLP and then later made his way back home.

The atmosphere in the House seemed about to degenerate into a WWF bout. you know, like the ones you see on TV with wrestlers slamming opponents to the mat in seemingly impossible moves. Voices were raised, tempers flared; Mr Derrick Smith, the Opposition's House Leader, was on his feet, jousting with the Deputy Speaker, Mr O T Williams, who had to engage in some serious semantic shuffling to avert a further bangarang (to use Mr Golding's favourite word).

Calls for the PM to apologise and retract her allegations that the Opposition had come to the sitting with a plan to heckle her, were cleverly deflected by the Speaker who recommended that Hansard be consulted. The words from Hansard (the record of House proceedings) never materialised. In the meantime, the tide of the battle shifted. Tempers cooled down considerably and the heat abated, flaring up only half-heartedly from time to time.

Mrs Simpson Miller was in her ackee when she fought back against the Leader of the Opposition's finger-pointing in his budget presentation last week, calling upon the government to "leave poor people's money alone", implying that there was some intention to raid the NIS and NHF resources. Her defence of strategies to use surplus from investments which have fattened the National Insurance Fund, to improve not only the benefits to pensioners but communities in need, was presented with passion and fire.

She salted her presentation with folk wisdom. "Give the people the chance to step up inna life." "Woman nuh want bangarang." "God knows we have had enough bangarang in this country." Then, there were the scriptural allusions, the reference to "forty days" since she took office and she being the "seventh prime minister". Those who know the significance of such numbers in Biblical context were no doubt appropriately impressed.

MINISTERIAL PRESENTATIONS in Parliament are usually the combined initiative of ministers, technocrats and assorted spin-doctors. The challenge to the presenter is to appropriate the words, to lift them from the page and present them as his or her own. It is here that Mrs Simpson Miller failed to impress, in the view of many people who have not spared criticism since then.

She did her best on Tuesday afternoon, trying to imbue the wording with her own style and flavour, obviously conscious of the fact that ears listening were way beyond the confines of Gordon House and, as she described it, it was "an historic occasion" (first woman prime minister making her first budget presentation).

She rolled out a long list of benefits which are to come under her watch but in the long run, the flame began to flicker as the speech wore on. There were areas of repetition and attention flagged. It was no surprise that the presentation ended with a whimper instead of a bang. By the time she got to the inspirational call: "I have a vision," she appeared to be running out of steam - understandably so. She had been on her feet and talking for nearly three hours. The heat in Gordon House seemed to be overwhelming. It must have been exhausting.

TO GET BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED, what lessons have we learned from Tuesday's exercise? For one, three-hour long speeches to the nation no longer make sense when people have become acclimatised to quick sound bites from the media of a new age. It was all right 30 years ago, when a prime minister's budget speech could hold the nation enthralled for several hours.

Now, people get restless whenever and wherever the talk becomes excessive. They want to get to the meat of the matter as quickly as possible. Bring on the bullet points! It would be well, for future presentations, if speakers on both sides of the House were to become attuned to the trends of the times and tailor their messages accordingly.

Out in the streets on Wednesday, people were talking about the PM's Speech. What attracted most attention was the plan to use the surplus generated by investment of the National Housing Fund and the National Insurance Scheme to underwrite social development projects.

In the eyes of many, there is nothing wrong with it, so long as the expenditure is scrupulously monitored and transparency adhered to. Mrs Simpson Miller, in her defence to Parliament and the nation said: "Nobody is talking about using money from the NHT or NIS in such a way as to jeopardise those schemes. That would be irresponsible, reckless and crazy. I would never be a party to that." Despite her explanation, the debate is heating up. Balancing lives or bangarang?

PS: DID YOU KNOW that Standing Orders of our Parliament forbid reading from scripts? Speakers may use NOTES only. Who will tell that to today's politicians?




Balancing peoples lives or bangarang? (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20060511T220000-0500_104364_OBS_BALANCING_LIVES_OR_MAKING_BANGARAN G_.asp)

More commentary:portia's budget presentation why the mixed reactions? (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20060512T000000-0500_104416_OBS_PORTIA_S_BUDGET_PRESENTATION__WHY_ THE_MIXED_REACTIONS_.asp)

Tuff Gong
05-12-2006, 06:16 PM
Couldn't god write a better speech?

Tuff Gong
05-13-2006, 12:12 AM
PM's presentation uninspiring

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dear Editor,

The presentation of the prime minister in this year's budget debate was tepid and uninspiring at best. She made no attempt to deal creatively with the well-crafted positions enunciated by the Opposition on the important national issues that the people of Jamaica are concerned about. What we got was more of the same intention of pork-barrel spending, ostensibly to bolster the party's chances in an expected early general election.

In this I was terribly disappointed. The prime minister showed no philosophical grasp for the problems facing the country. I expected a better showing from the prime minister, but I am now becoming more and more convinced that you can have expectations that cannot be met by a person's ability to realise them.


Rev Dr Ralston Nembhard
1000 Bethune Drive
Orlando, Florida 32805
[email protected]
PM's presentation uninspiring (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/html/20060511T220000-0500_104376_OBS_PM_S_PRESENTATION_UNINSPIRING.asp)

Wahalla
05-13-2006, 12:34 AM
And that comes fram a contemporary of the missing Fledgst...

I must admit while I think the speech was not long and filled with aunties homilies... I kinda feel sorry for her. I mean apart from the begining it was not all that different from Pattersons speeches.. And while Doctor Nemhard may be right in is analysis. It is simply more of the same. It is expected that the party in power will spend to get relected.

I actually like Golding budget presentations, I find them simple to understand but that is not a reccomendation because if I can understand his points then it shows how dumb it is. He actually has an easier job than the governetn side to poke holes in their presentation. Economics I learnt from Golding is not an exact science and each action has multiple effects both negative and positive. It is suppose to be the function of the goverment side to do a set of actions which are by enlarge positive. Since you can examine the consequence of each action, then it is their function to sell the negative.

It is worth noting in the parlimentary process, the actual buget is present by the minister of finance not the PM. So while Golding presentation was a rebuttal to Omars.. So while every one is looking at the pms they seem to ignore Omars.. Smoke and mirrors .....

johnnycakes
05-13-2006, 01:28 PM
I found it most strange that P.M. Simpson made no mention atall about the debt situation in which some 70% or so of the nation's wealth is used to pay off it's debt obligations.
How is it possible to seriously discuss Jamaica's budget without mentioning that huge amount of money?
What is her plan for resolution of that problem?

Tuff Gong
05-14-2006, 11:42 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I found it most strange that P.M. Simpson made no mention atall about the debt situation in which some 70% or so of the nation's wealth is used to pay off it's debt obligations.
How is it possible to seriously discuss Jamaica's budget without mentioning that huge amount of money?
What is her plan for resolution of that problem?

[/ QUOTE ]

God left out:

Crime
Development
Debt and other important matters out of her speech, if this is what god has in store for Jamaica and Jamaicans then what good is god. Should we trust this emissary of god?

wolmersboy
05-14-2006, 12:15 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I found it most strange that P.M. Simpson made no mention atall about the debt situation in which some 70% or so of the nation's wealth is used to pay off it's debt obligations.
How is it possible to seriously discuss Jamaica's budget without mentioning that huge amount of money?
What is her plan for resolution of that problem?

[/ QUOTE ]

Excellent question! Maybe we will learn the answer after the Sunday Morning service......

Dr.Dudd
05-14-2006, 02:56 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I found it most strange that P.M. Simpson made no mention atall about the debt situation in which some 70% or so of the nation's wealth is used to pay off it's debt obligations.
How is it possible to seriously discuss Jamaica's budget without mentioning that huge amount of money?
What is her plan for resolution of that problem?

[/ QUOTE ]
It is not 70% of the nation'swealth. It is 56% of the annual budget expenditure.the budget is not the same as the nation's wealth.
There was a time 40 years ago,during independence where 90% of the country's taxes use to go to britain,we have come a long way. taking into consideration that 40 years ago when jamaica got independence,UK only lefy 11 days operating cost in our Central bank,after centuries of rapiong the country's wealth. Hey It takes time.If jamaica did not borrow itv would not have much of the infrastructure it has today as inadequate as it is.
Without loans there is no saying that jamaica would not be in a similar position as Africa.

Tuff Gong
05-14-2006, 08:12 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I found it most strange that P.M. Simpson made no mention atall about the debt situation in which some 70% or so of the nation's wealth is used to pay off it's debt obligations.
How is it possible to seriously discuss Jamaica's budget without mentioning that huge amount of money?
What is her plan for resolution of that problem?

[/ QUOTE ]
It is not 70% of the nation'swealth. It is 56% of the annual budget expenditure.the budget is not the same as the nation's wealth.
There was a time 40 years ago,during independence where 90% of the country's taxes use to go to britain,we have come a long way. taking into consideration that 40 years ago when jamaica got independence,UK only lefy 11 days operating cost in our Central bank,after centuries of rapiong the country's wealth. Hey It takes time.If jamaica did not borrow itv would not have much of the infrastructure it has today as inadequate as it is.
Without loans there is no saying that jamaica would not be in a similar position as Africa.

[/ QUOTE ]

DWL….so are we in a better position because of the loans?
Where is it written that Jamaica only had 11 days worth of Central Bank funds immediately after Independence?

Are you aware of a document by Hugh Small claiming that Jamaica only had 18 days worth of purchasing power left just before the 1980 Elections? This was thought to be one of the main reasons why Menlie chose to go to the polls.
The document was published as part of a two-part article on the collapse of the Financial and Business sector. It was published on or about November 29, 2004 in part 1 of the two part series.

I have been searching for it on my hard drive but I can find it, anyhow when I do it will destroy the theory that it was Eddie who screwed up the economy. If I am challenged I will personally buy a search from the Gleaner.

Hopyoneson
05-14-2006, 09:35 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Where is it written that Jamaica only had 11 days worth of Central Bank funds immediately after Independence?


[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
We collided again in 1962, shortly before Independence, when with Sir Alexander Bustamante in tow, he demanded that the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation fire me because of a commentary I did in which I belittled the British Government's farewell gifts to Jamaica: after 300 years "enough cash to run the government for 11 days and Up Park Camp, which they cannot take away

[/ QUOTE ]

Jamaica observer (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20050122T190000-0500_73695_OBS_MR_SEAGA_DEPARTS____AND_SOME_THINGS _WILL_CHANGE.asp)

[ QUOTE ]
anyhow when I do it will destroy the theory that it was Eddie who screwed up the economy.

[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
Seaga's Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) swept to electoral victory on October 30, 1980, with a mandate for change as great as that won by Reagan less than a week later. On becoming Jamaica's new Prime Minister, Seaga promised an ambitious program to reverse eight years of socialism that virtually had destroyed the island's economy To do so, he promised to pursue a free market strategy. T'o show his strong pro-Western stance on foreign policy, Seaga broke relations with Cuba and downgraded ties with other Soviet bloc nations.

Today, Jamaica's great promise remains unfulfilled


[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
Yet the main cause of today's economic woes is that Seaga's government has failed to create a fertile investment cl-imate for foreign and local businessmen. The sad truth is that state control of Jamaica's economy has actually increased in some sectors since the JLP assumed power.

Jamaica is too important to U.S. and Caribbean regional security to allow its potential to remain. largely untapped Unless.Seaga can revitalize his nation's economy before the island's next elections which could be.called at any time, but must be held by the end of 1988 former Prime Minister Michael Manley and his socialist People's National Party (PNP) could return to power. This would be a blow to the validity of the free enterprise concept for the developing world and to U.S. efforts to stem Soviet and Cuban influence in the Caribbean As Seaga meets with top U.S. officials this week, they must make it clear that continuation of the nearly 1 billion in U.S. aid given to Jamaica since 1980 is contingent upon the rapid structural reforms that will ignite the power of free market forces for the country's 2.3 million inhabitants.


[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
Jamaican resistance was strong against policy reforms As such, the island's economy today is only marginally better than under the Manley regime, with 30 percent unemployment, a 25.5 percent inflathon rate; and a debt higher than Mexico and Brazil.


[/ QUOTE ]
SOURCE (http://www.heritage.org/Research/LatinAmerica/bg531.cfm)

Hopyoneson
05-14-2006, 09:59 PM
Another side to the story

[ QUOTE ]
Four decades ago then Prime Minister of Jamaica, Alexander Bustamante, arrived at my workplace, the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, to demand that I be dismissed, fired, because I had dared to expose a truth: that the British, after exploiting us for 300 years, were leaving us with the munificent gift of the Jamaican army headquarters –which they could not take with them – and enough money to service the government for 11 days.It was lese majeste to speak like that.

What I had forgotten to say at the time was that the British had 'forgotten' to return a quarter of a million pounds they 'borrowed' from us during the war, and had not recognised the blood sacrifice of Jamaicans killed in Imperial service in West Africa, in the Boer War, in both World Wars, or to even say they were sorry about the hundreds of thousands they had sacrificed in slavery in Jamaica and the millions elsewhere.


[/ QUOTE ]
SOURCE (http://www.nathanielturner.com/kingsugarobituary.htm)

About the writer
http://www.nathanielturner.com/images/New_Folder3/johnmaxwell3.jpg
John Maxwell of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is the veteran Jamaican journalist who in 1999 single-handedly thwarted the Jamaican government's efforts to build houses at Hope, the nation's oldest and best known botanical gardens. His campaigning earned him first prize in the 2000 Sandals Resort's annual Environmental Journalism Competition, the region's richest journalism prize. He is also the author of How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalists and Journalists. Jamaica, 2000.

Tuff Gong
05-14-2006, 10:04 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Where is it written that Jamaica only had 11 days worth of Central Bank funds immediately after Independence?


[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
We collided again in 1962, shortly before Independence, when with Sir Alexander Bustamante in tow, he demanded that the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation fire me because of a commentary I did in which I belittled the British Government's farewell gifts to Jamaica: after 300 years "enough cash to run the government for 11 days and Up Park Camp, which they cannot take away

[/ QUOTE ]

Again you quote mere opinions, was John Maxwell Minister of Finance?
Where is his proof?

Tuff Gong
05-14-2006, 10:06 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Another side to the story

[ QUOTE ]
Four decades ago then Prime Minister of Jamaica, Alexander Bustamante, arrived at my workplace, the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, to demand that I be dismissed, fired, because I had dared to expose a truth:

[/ QUOTE ]

What truth?
Where is the proof?
Who was John Maxwell that he was privy to information that no one then and now can verify?

Hopyoneson
05-14-2006, 10:15 PM
Let me get this straight,so you can post some jamaican letter to the editor of the gleanah to support your position and in the same breath try to discredit a seasoned respected journalist from UWI??? my proof is staring you dead in the face, all you have proven yourself capable of lately is calling other names, insulting fellow posters and "figet whe yu put stuff pon di hard drive".

Tuff Gong
05-14-2006, 10:32 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Let me get this straight,so you can post some jamaican letter to the editor of the gleanah to support your position and in the same breath try to descredit a seasoned respected journalist from UWI??? my proof is staring you dead in the face, all you have proven yourself capable of lately is calling other names, insulting fellow posters and "figet whe yu put stuff pon di hard drive".

[/ QUOTE ]

First let me disabuse you of your erroneous positions. It was not a letter to the editor. It was an article on the financial collapse of the 90s that was published in two parts on November 29 and 30/Dec 1, 2005 in the Business Section of the Gleaner. The writer was quoting from a Cabinet Document table by Hugh Small then Minister of Finance.

As for the second bit of falsehood, John Maxwell is a lying, drunk who is nothing if not a tribalist, anyone can coat himself or herself in Platinum. So Busta tell him something that is not published anywhere else?
I am not saying it is not so just find me a source other than a known pathological liar.

John once said Menlie-The-Younger came to England and begged him to run for the PNP against Eddie. John and very dead Menlie are the only one that knows that.
Similarly he claimed that he got a job for Motty Perkins at the Gleaner, only John can recall that.
The same way he conveniently forgets that he called for attacks on Tivoli Gardens after the PNP won the election. The Tivoli Community Center that housed a library and the trade center was sacked.
I am not saying it was John's doing but him did call fi something similar. He has a way of placing himself at the epicenter of every important or important in his own mind event in and out of Jamaica.

niceniss
05-15-2006, 02:58 PM
John Maxwell has been known to make stuff up to service his immence ego. he and every major personality in Jamaican politics has had some sort of relationship or tiff, if you are to believe his self-aggrandizing ramblings. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Tuff Gong
05-15-2006, 03:11 PM
[ QUOTE ]
John Maxwell has been known to make stuff up to service his immence ego. he and every major personality in Jamaican politics has had some sort of relationship or tiff, if you are to believe his self-aggrandizing ramblings. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

Here is a recent example:

Unfortunate report

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Editor,

I write with reference to information in an article in the Sunday Observer of May 7, "The many embarrassing cases of mistaken identity". In the section referring to me and my namesake John Maxwell, the journalist, I am reported as having once received a libel summons intended for him and simply threw it away as I knew it did not apply to me. This is absolutely incorrect, and I well recall the situation.

When the summons was served on me as from the Gleaner at my home address where I have resided since 1976 ( incidentally, I had left Boys' Town in 1963), I immediately contacted the Gleaner and spoke with Mr Richard Ashenheim, indicating the obvious error. He advised me to write a letter indicating that I was not the John Maxwell referred to, as I would otherwise be expected to appear in court. (As I recall it, the summons was returned along with my letter.) In my effort to ensure that John was alerted, as I did not then have his unlisted telephone number, I took it upon myself to find out, and to contact the law firm representing him - which was Daley, Thwaites and Fairclough - to alert them as to what had occurred. After that, I was not aware of how the case proceeded.

In light of the steps that I took beyond what was required of me to indicate that the summons was delivered to the wrong person, it is unfortunate to be reported as having acted in such a callous manner as to have discarded something as significant as a court summons. I have had a listed telephone at this address for 30 years and, as my namesake's number has always been unlisted, I have constantly received calls for him, both local and overseas. After he gave me his number, I have usually redirected callers to him. All members of my household can attest to this.

I note with regret that I am the only person discussed in the article who was never contacted by your columnist for any information!

John A Maxwell
3 Hope Blvd
Kingston 6
Unfortunate report (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/html/20060510T210000-0500_104320_OBS_UNFORTUNATE_REPORT_.asp)

Here is IMax on the incident and professor John Maxwell:

[ QUOTE ]
More unfortunate was journalist John Maxwell's experience. "It was in the mid-1970s when a libel writ was issued by the Gleaner and delivered to another John Maxwell at Boy's Town," he recalls. "He knew he never libelled anyone so he promptly threw it away."
Years later, Maxwell tells SunDay, he got a letter that the court had handed down a judgement against him in his absence.

"I had to be in a mad rush to get lawyers to file a defence, but the dice were stacked against me," he says. He was unable to get a jury trial because so much time had elapsed and it was almost impossible to file a proper defence. He eventually lost the case to the tune of $40,000.

[/ QUOTE ]
The many embarrassing cases of mistaken identity: Same name, different man (http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20060506t210000-0500_104039_obs_the_many_embarrassing_cases_of_mis taken_identity__same_name__different_man_.asp)

RichD
05-15-2006, 03:18 PM
[ QUOTE ]

First let me disabuse you of your erroneous positions. It was not a letter to the editor. It was an article on the financial collapse of the 90s that was published in two parts on November 29 and 30/Dec 1, 2005 in the Business Section of the Gleaner. The writer was quoting from a Cabinet Document table by Hugh Small then Minister of Finance.



[/ QUOTE ]

what years did Small serve as finance minister?...was he after Bell and prior to the 1980 election loss?

niceniss
05-15-2006, 05:25 PM
[ QUOTE ]
And that comes fram a contemporary of the missing Fledgst...



[/ QUOTE ]
where is he these days? /forums/images/graemlins/70402-thinking.gif

Tuff Gong
05-15-2006, 06:28 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]

First let me disabuse you of your erroneous positions. It was not a letter to the editor. It was an article on the financial collapse of the 90s that was published in two parts on November 29 and 30/Dec 1, 2005 in the Business Section of the Gleaner. The writer was quoting from a Cabinet Document table by Hugh Small then Minister of Finance.



[/ QUOTE ]

what years did Small serve as finance minister?...was he after Bell and prior to the 1980 election loss?

[/ QUOTE ]

Right after Eric Bell, he was driven out of the party because he supported Portia in her first bid as Comrade Leader. He was Finance Minister twice.

I did make a slight mistake above the article I think appeared in the dates I mentioned except it was either 2003 or 2004 but certainly before 2005.

ackeepod
05-17-2006, 10:59 AM
mek Portia gwaan wid dis suddenly found christianity ..she only a fool di fool dem ..she was there and she pawt of the whole shebang... she run wid and mix up wid di don dem same like the rest ..and she using the church as pappyshow ..
I remember in 2004 an article in the newspaper wid pictures showing her arriving at a conference wid Skeng Don and a motorcade of dons (criminals)

Quote..
Simpson Miller, the Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew, will be up against National Security Minister Dr Peter Phillips; Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies and Paul Burke, the former chairman of Region Three, for the top PNP job. Burke, however, has made it clear that he has no interest in becoming prime minister.

Party chairman Robert Pickersgill and vice-president Karl Blythe have also expressed interest in the leadership, but have not yet declared their candidacy.

On Sunday, Simpson Miller said her major concern was the party's unity, and she was confident of her chances to win the PNP presidency.Quote :

".The woman is fearless. The woman is safe. The woman is secured. The woman don't have nothing to worry about. The only thing the woman has to worry about is the unity of the party, to get over this, because when we are the best, there is no need for us to worry about the rest," she said to loud applause.

The dramatic arrival of Manchester businessman Kenneth "Skeng Don" Black drew stares from party supporters at the conference. Black's convoy of about 15 vehicles included BMW X5s, Mercedes Benzes, Escalades, Pajeros and motorcycles and at least one Hummer.

Tuff Gong
05-17-2006, 12:32 PM
[ QUOTE ]
mek Portia gwaan wid dis suddenly found christianity ..she only a fool di fool dem ..she was there and she pawt of the whole shebang... she run wid and mix up wid di don dem same like the rest ..and she using the church as pappyshow ..
I remember in 2004 an article in the newspaper wid pictures showing her arriving at a conference wid Skeng Don and a motorcade of dons (criminals)

Quote..
Simpson Miller, the Member of Parliament for South West St Andrew, will be up against National Security Minister Dr Peter Phillips; Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies and Paul Burke, the former chairman of Region Three, for the top PNP job. Burke, however, has made it clear that he has no interest in becoming prime minister.

Party chairman Robert Pickersgill and vice-president Karl Blythe have also expressed interest in the leadership, but have not yet declared their candidacy.

On Sunday, Simpson Miller said her major concern was the party's unity, and she was confident of her chances to win the PNP presidency.Quote :

".The woman is fearless. The woman is safe. The woman is secured. The woman don't have nothing to worry about. The only thing the woman has to worry about is the unity of the party, to get over this, because when we are the best, there is no need for us to worry about the rest," she said to loud applause.

The dramatic arrival of Manchester businessman Kenneth "Skeng Don" Black drew stares from party supporters at the conference. Black's convoy of about 15 vehicles included BMW X5s, Mercedes Benzes, Escalades, Pajeros and motorcycles and at least one Hummer.

[/ QUOTE ]

I wonder god wrote that?

johnnycakes
05-21-2006, 09:59 PM
My point about P.M. Simpson's avoidance of the debt problem which is the elephant in the room if you're discussing the national budget is that neither the PNP or the JLP the twin parties of capitalism and the faithful servants of Washington's whims have a cure for the back-breaking debt problem.
Jamaica's situation is no different from that of the United Snakes which is run by the two parties which are run by the monied elite of the country for their benefit and to the detriment of the poor and working people.

Capitalism, especially as practiced in cut-throat late 20th century U.S fashion, simply does not work in the resource poor Third World.

The JLP and the PNP (despite it's more left positions and wings) would never give up the capitalism which so enriches them and the few at the top and immiserates so many at the bottom for a fairer and more Christian socialist economy which is the only practical alternative for the Third World.
Those who criticise Portia Simpson are fully justified in declaring her falsity and hypocrisy.
Those who prescribe a JLP cure for the general malaise are perhaps only fooling themselves.
Continuing support for either or both of the parties of the rich is a fool's game unless, of course, if you're rich and then the status quo is just fine and in that case either one will do nicely.

But then, I only have history to prove my case.

Tuff Gong
05-22-2006, 02:11 PM
[ QUOTE ]
My point about P.M. Simpson's avoidance of the debt problem which is the elephant in the room if you're discussing the national budget is that neither the PNP or the JLP the twin parties of capitalism and the faithful servants of Washington's whims have a cure for the back-breaking debt problem.
Jamaica's situation is no different from that of the United Snakes which is run by the two parties which are run by the monied elite of the country for their benefit and to the detriment of the poor and working people.

Capitalism, especially as practiced in cut-throat late 20th century U.S fashion, simply does not work in the resource poor Third World.

The JLP and the PNP (despite it's more left positions and wings) would never give up the capitalism which so enriches them and the few at the top and immiserates so many at the bottom for a fairer and more Christian socialist economy which is the only practical alternative for the Third World.
Those who criticise Portia Simpson are fully justified in declaring her falsity and hypocrisy.
Those who prescribe a JLP cure for the general malaise are perhaps only fooling themselves.
Continuing support for either or both of the parties of the rich is a fool's game unless, of course, if you're rich and then the status quo is just fine and in that case either one will do nicely.

But then, I only have history to prove my case.

[/ QUOTE ]

What case is that?
The JLP is not in power the PNP has been in power for 17 straight years in that time Jamaica has never shown in any or very minimal growth, what has the JLP and Capitalism have to do with this?

Portia's speech is Portia's speech, she is the Prime Minister of Jamaica, and if she fails it has to be on her head not the Opposition.

johnnycakes
05-25-2006, 09:49 PM
Tuff Gong,
My point is and was that the problems of Jamaica are linked directly to the economic system under which it operates.
It matters not at all whether the PNP or the JLP are in power as the outcome is always the same: stagnant growth, increasing and or constant debt, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, lack of economic and educational opportunity for the poor, inadequate healthcare and a lack of a social safety net.
The situation is much the same for the poor even in the wealthiest of capitalist countries if in a smaller overall percentage.

In any country, there is just so much money -goods and services- to go around and if a disproportionate share goes to those few at the top, nothing is left for those many at the bottom.
A perfect analogy is the lifeboat with twenty people in it.
One person has more food and water and the other necessities for survival than he /she needs while the 19 others barely cling to life.

It makes no sense in a humane Christian sense for this to exist in that lifeboat at sea or in a country with three or 300 million people.

In the world today, there is enough of everything to go around so that every man, woman and child could life a good life but not when the distribution of those goods and services are dictated by an economic policy that always places profits above human need and the disproportionate share of wealth in the hands of a relative few.

The JLP and the PNP are wed to a capitalist economy. They would never consider the humane alternative. They are, in fact, proscribed from considering the humane alternative by the United States.

To answer your question, the PNP, JLP and capitalism have evrything to do with the sad state of affairs in Jamaica.
As you said the PNP has been in power for many years and has done nothing to rememdy the problems of Jamaica. When Mr Seaga was in power, he also could do and did do nothing.

They cannot offer solutions because they are the problem; both of them.
To vote in one in place of the other and expect any serious change is foolishness.
The answer to Jamaica's problems, to any Third World countries' problems is not a change in party when each basically supports the same unworkable economic system: an unfair and inhumane economic system that lies at the heart of Jamaica's malaise.

Tuff Gong
05-26-2006, 07:58 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Tuff Gong,
My point is and was that the problems of Jamaica are linked directly to the economic system under which it operates.

[/ QUOTE ]

You don't know what you are talking about.

[ QUOTE ]
As you said the PNP has been in power for many years and has done nothing to rememdy the problems of Jamaica. When Mr Seaga was in power, he also could do and did do nothing.

[/ QUOTE ]

Again you don't know what you are talking about.

wolmersboy
05-26-2006, 09:09 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Tuff Gong,
My point is and was that the problems of Jamaica are linked directly to the economic system under which it operates.
It matters not at all whether the PNP or the JLP are in power as the outcome is always the same: stagnant growth, increasing and or constant debt, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, lack of economic and educational opportunity for the poor, inadequate healthcare and a lack of a social safety net.
The situation is much the same for the poor even in the wealthiest of capitalist countries if in a smaller overall percentage.

In any country, there is just so much money -goods and services- to go around and if a disproportionate share goes to those few at the top, nothing is left for those many at the bottom.
A perfect analogy is the lifeboat with twenty people in it.
One person has more food and water and the other necessities for survival than he /she needs while the 19 others barely cling to life.

It makes no sense in a humane Christian sense for this to exist in that lifeboat at sea or in a country with three or 300 million people.

In the world today, there is enough of everything to go around so that every man, woman and child could life a good life but not when the distribution of those goods and services are dictated by an economic policy that always places profits above human need and the disproportionate share of wealth in the hands of a relative few.

The JLP and the PNP are wed to a capitalist economy. They would never consider the humane alternative. They are, in fact, proscribed from considering the humane alternative by the United States.

To answer your question, the PNP, JLP and capitalism have evrything to do with the sad state of affairs in Jamaica.
As you said the PNP has been in power for many years and has done nothing to rememdy the problems of Jamaica. When Mr Seaga was in power, he also could do and did do nothing.

They cannot offer solutions because they are the problem; both of them.
To vote in one in place of the other and expect any serious change is foolishness.
The answer to Jamaica's problems, to any Third World countries' problems is not a change in party when each basically supports the same unworkable economic system: an unfair and inhumane economic system that lies at the heart of Jamaica's malaise.

[/ QUOTE ]

I disagree.

Several other Caribbean nations operate under capitalistic governments (Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, etc.) but they do not have the problems to the degree that Jamaica has. Nor do they have the resources that Jamaica has! I believe Jamaica is where it is simply because of squandered resources and opportunities.
Socialism/communism by themselves are not a cure-all either. Look at the countries that have been down that path and didn't do so well either (Romania, Vietnam, North Korea, East Germany, Poland,etc.) The Chinese are doing great things for their people and have become a major player on the world scene by opening up their markets and engaging in free trade. Why are the Chinese succesful? They have leaders with vision.
Cuba is an anomaly or is it? Fidel Castro--whether you agree or disagree with his policies--has a vision for his people and his country and they are focused on that.

I challenge someone to tell me what the vision and direction is of the Jamaican government! What is the overriding national priority? What is the one thing or things that are consistent regardless of who sits in the seat of power?

The problem in Jamaica has been and will continue to be, LEADERSHIP. I don't care what the -ism is: if you don't have leadership committed to a national goal (better education, health care, debt payments, whatever) the country will never advance.

niceniss
05-26-2006, 10:13 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Tuff Gong,
My point is and was that the problems of Jamaica are linked directly to the economic system under which it operates.
It matters not at all whether the PNP or the JLP are in power as the outcome is always the same: stagnant growth, increasing and or constant debt, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, lack of economic and educational opportunity for the poor, inadequate healthcare and a lack of a social safety net.
The situation is much the same for the poor even in the wealthiest of capitalist countries if in a smaller overall percentage.

In any country, there is just so much money -goods and services- to go around and if a disproportionate share goes to those few at the top, nothing is left for those many at the bottom.
A perfect analogy is the lifeboat with twenty people in it.
One person has more food and water and the other necessities for survival than he /she needs while the 19 others barely cling to life.

It makes no sense in a humane Christian sense for this to exist in that lifeboat at sea or in a country with three or 300 million people.

In the world today, there is enough of everything to go around so that every man, woman and child could life a good life but not when the distribution of those goods and services are dictated by an economic policy that always places profits above human need and the disproportionate share of wealth in the hands of a relative few.

The JLP and the PNP are wed to a capitalist economy. They would never consider the humane alternative. They are, in fact, proscribed from considering the humane alternative by the United States.

To answer your question, the PNP, JLP and capitalism have evrything to do with the sad state of affairs in Jamaica.
As you said the PNP has been in power for many years and has done nothing to rememdy the problems of Jamaica. When Mr Seaga was in power, he also could do and did do nothing.

They cannot offer solutions because they are the problem; both of them.
To vote in one in place of the other and expect any serious change is foolishness.
The answer to Jamaica's problems, to any Third World countries' problems is not a change in party when each basically supports the same unworkable economic system: an unfair and inhumane economic system that lies at the heart of Jamaica's malaise.

[/ QUOTE ]

please dont crap all over my computer screen.

that junk u wrote should be flushed...