Saturday, 2 January 2016

NEW YEAR, FRESH OUTLOOK: Simpson-Miller, Holness express cautious optimism for J’ca in 2016

In their annual New Year’s messages to a nation on Election Watch, both Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness voiced concern about several issues that need to be addressed urgently, namely crime reduction, job creation, and energy conservation. But they also highlighted the achievements of the past year and expressed cautious optimism about the way forward in this out fifty-fourth year of Independence. Below, TALLAWAH shares excerpts from their messages:

“The confidence of local and international investors to do business in Jamaica is high: local business and civil society groups have agreed that the main economic policies being pursued by the government should be continued. We are determined that this must be a year for the creation of more jobs. A major part of our strategy towards economic progress for all, wealth creation and business expansion, is driving down the cost of doing business in Jamaica. One of these costs is associated with energy. Already there has been a reduction of more than 30 percent in the price of electricity. I urge you to embark on energy-conservation projects in your homes. Make good use of the energy-conservation plans being offered by the utility companies. There must be no retreat from the gains we have made.” -— PM Portia Simpson-Miller

“The challenges for any Jamaican government this year is to maintain the fiscal programme and stimulate growth at the same time. The present government views the two objectives sequentially: fiscal discipline first, then growth may follow. The Jamaica Labour Party has always held the view that fiscal discipline and growth can be achieved simultaneously; this is the only sustainable way. This year must be our year of change and prosperity. However, there cannot be change and prosperity without your participation. Your input on the national slate will determine whether you get a government that fulfils its core functions and creatively and resolutely solves problems, or whether problems keep following us from year to year. Let us resolve to embrace the New Year for all the hopes and challenges it will offer.” — Andrew Holness

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