Opposition Says Throne Speech Fails to Inspire Hope

Release Date: 
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 19:30

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is describing this morning’s outline of the Government’s programme of work by Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, as offering little hope to Jamaicans who are suffering as a result of economic hardships and failing to inspire confidence that the sacrifices they have been called upon to bear in the economic recovery efforts are bearing significant fruit.

Spokesperson on Information, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says: “The Opposition, like the rest of Jamaica, was anticipating a report from the Government on the state of large investment projects, which would have given us a sense as to whether the country will be turning the corner as it relates to the economy any time soon.  In light of its failure to speak definitively to deliverables, timelines and actual performance in relation to the logistics hub, foreign direct investments, energy reform and job creation generally, it is evident that the government has nothing meaningful to report.”

Ms. Grange continued: “The absence of a report that inspires confidence is not entirely surprising, as the government has considerably hampered its own capacity as well as that of the private sector to drive economic activity and secure the levels of growth the country desires.  The Government is failing miserably in balancing its programme of austerity with the growth imperative, and as a result, is not moving the Jamaican people out of the hardships they are facing and into a more prosperous life.”

The Opposition Spokesperson went on to indicate that the JLP takes special note of the fact that the key macroeconomic indicators were conveniently left out by the government.  Ms. Grange says: “The Government is clearly seeking to give the public the impression that all is well but that is not so.  It is failing to meet its revenue targets, but of course, no mention was made of under-performing revenues.  Neither was there any mention of the Government’s mounting arrears to creditors, the increases in the national debt stock, nor the vast slide in the dollar which is increasing the hardship on businesses and households at this time.”

She continued: “As if those ills weren’t enough, when one considers the high cost of energy, the scourge of poverty and rampant unemployment in the society, it is clear that the Government isn’t doing the public any good by hiding behind selective data.  What the Government needs to spend time focusing on, is how it is going to effectively balance its programme of austerity with the need to secure meaningful growth, because when all is said and done, it is the creation of jobs and expansion in economic activity that will help in moving people from poverty to prosperity.”

Ms. Grange says Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, and Opposition Spokesman on Finance and Planning, Audley Shaw, will address these matters going forward and treat with them in a more comprehensive way when they make their contributions to the budget debate on March 19th and 17th respectively.  

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