Gov’t focused on peace and productivity – PM
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says the Government is focused on putting Jamaica on a path to peace and increased productivity, which are key ingredients for the country’s continued economic growth and independence.
He noted that the economic programme is going well but for it to be sustained the country has to transition to another level “where we deal with the issue of violence, which is destroying our peace… and then improve our productivity”.
“It is from our productivity that we’re going to get increased wages, keep supporting infrastructure development and sustain our peace. Those are two critical platforms that we have to be on and that’s where the new direction of the Government is going to be.
“We’re going to maintain our economic performance – that track of economic independence is ongoing – but we need to be on this track of peace and increased productivity,” he stressed, noting that the focus will require the contribution of every Jamaican at home and abroad.
The prime minister was addressing the ‘Let’s Connect’ town-hall on Tuesday, which was hosted by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Audrey Marks.
The engagement with the diaspora was part of the prime minister’s four-day working visit to Washington DC from December 4 to 7.
Holness said that his visit was in furtherance of the peace and productivity mission.
During his trip, he had meetings with Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, and National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, which he noted “went extremely well”.
The prime minister also held talks with chairpersons of committees of Congress as well as the Attorney General and critical agencies under the Department of Justice.
He said that among the topics of discussion was the Americas Trade and Investment Act “which we believe could have significant benefits for Jamaica. It is a new piece of legislation going through the American Congress, which we came to give our views on”.
“In terms of the peace side, we have prepared something called Plan Secure Jamaica, which is a comprehensive national security strategy for Jamaica for which the United States is a significant partner, and we were here discussing some elements of that,” he added.
Plan Secure Jamaica provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to tackling crime and ensuring a safe and secure society.
The prime minister said the working visit also formed part of efforts to reaffirm the close ties between the nations and ensure that Jamaica remains “front of mind” in US foreign policy.
“The United States is a critical partner for us. There are many threats emerging in the region, so it’s important that Jamaica makes our position known, and we use our offices to communicate what those threats are but more importantly to reaffirm the partnership,” he said.