New party to field 58 candidates; releases ambitious manifesto

New party to field 58 candidates; releases ambitious manifesto

Saturday, August 15, 2020

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THE Jamaica Progressive Party (JPP) — the country's newest political entity — says it will be fielding 58 candidates in the September 3 General Election, General Secretary Robert Rainford confirmed to the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.

In the meantime, the JPP — made up of representatives of various churches across the island, thus being referred to by some as the Christian party — has released an ambitious manifesto, which several Facebook users have described as unattainable, while others have said they are good proposals for the country.

The party said doctors in the public sector would have their salaries equal to that of their counterparts in the United States, while registered nurses, the police, teachers, military personnel, prison officers, firefighters, and paramedics would be paid US$48,430 annually for their first year of service. Minimum wage would be calculated at US$11 per hour, which is basically the rate used in some US states.

It also said JPP would abolish income tax, but would introduce a four per cent health care tax as well as increase the education tax to four per cent, and have a General Consumption Tax of 10 per cent. Corporate tax would be charged at a rate of 18 per cent on earnings in companies that leave a minimum of 70 per cent of earnings in the country, but a rate of 38 per cent would be imposed on corporation which do not.

In addition, the JPP has promised a tax break every seven years for permanent residents; forgiveness of National Housing Trust (NHT) loans for qualified individuals, and return of NHT contributions for qualified individuals.

The party said it would also pay off the country's debts within the first 100 days in office and forgive student loans, as well as introduce a one per cent water tax and abolish monthly water bills.

Though there is no mention of socialism in the document, its approach to government sees several entities under State control. These would include nationalisation of the Jamaica Public Service, all bauxite operations, the sugar industry, shipping ports, cement factory, toll roads, as well as the Norman Manley and Sangster International airports. It has also proposed the reintroduction of a national airline.

The JPP said, too, that it would:

• Introduce a new anti-corruption Bill;

• Introduce a new national security agency; and

• Push for Jamaica to become a kingdom.

“The Jamaica Progressive Party will be the political party that transforms Jamaica into a nation under God, operating by His laws and statues while upholding the Constitution of Jamaica,” said the party.

It has also promised to be an all-embracing political movement, supporting the welfare of all Jamaicans, managing the resources of Jamaica in a God-directed fashion, and distributing them in a just and equitable manner.

“Jamaicans here and in the Diaspora, let us embrace the God-given opportunity to truly invite God to grant true wisdom from above to all our leaders in all arenas political, faith-based commerce, education, every social and civic arena, and make Jamaica a truly God blessed country,” JPP President Gilbert Alexander Edwards said in an introduction to the manifesto.

The party's slogan is “A Prosperous Jamaica For All”.

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