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'Jamaica can be better than it is'

Holness reiterates strategy to rescue ailing country

Paul Henry

Wednesday, January 15, 2014    

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OPPOSITION Leader Andrew Holness on Sunday continued to outline strategies to take the country forward should the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) be returned to Government.

In a sober and informative address to party supporters at a meeting in the South Central St Catherine Constituency, Holness said that should the party form the next government, it will immediately implement programmes to ensure short-term economic growth and begin work to make Jamaica a society with fewer murders and one in which everyone haS access to quality education.

Holness, who noted that he's "focused on rescuing Jamaica", said that next week he will announce a team that will formulate plans for achieving short-term growth for the country's economy, while pointing out that inflation has hit double digits at 10 per cent.

"There is hope," Holness said. "Jamaica can be better than it is. I know that Jamaica has the potential to be much better than it is. The Jamaica Labour Party can make Jamaica better than it is right now."

Holness said the party can achieve these goals but that it has to be united, a message brought by numerous party officials, including Dr Andrew Wheatley, who is MP for the constituency in which the meeting was held.

Party watchers have said that all the talk of unity is a sign of lingering raw feelings stemming from the JLP leadership race last November between Holness and Audley Shaw, the former opposition spokesman on finance.

Sunday's withdrawal of Shaw from the South Central St Catherine Constituency meeting gave way to speculation that there wE still hard feelings between Holness and Shaw.

Both men sharing the same stage, according to party insiders, was scheduled to be somewhat of a unity meeting.

Asked by the Jamaica Jamaica Observer why he wouldn't be attending the meeting, Shaw said simply that he was "indisposed" and that he had sent his apologies.

In a radio interview on Monday, Dr Wheatley explained that Shaw was not well and that he was not the only invited MP who did not turn up at the meeting.

Shaw stepped away from the position of finance spokesman following his failed bid for the leadership of the party and differences with Holness regarding the treatment of Senators who supported him [Shaw].

On Sunday, Shane Dalling, councillor/caretaker for the Westchester Division -- commenting on the leadership challenge -- said that party members reserved the right to challenge for posts, and supporters had the right to back any candidate they want.

Dalling said that he backed Shaw and led his campaign in Portmore, implying that there should be no animosity towards any member of the party.

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