The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, MP
Denham Town (ZOSO) Tour Press Conference
February 2, 2018
Thank you very much.
We consider it a distinct privilege to have the Director General of the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) Union, Stefano Manservisi visit Jamaica.
It is not often that we get the distinct privilege of such a visit. We interpret it as a signal of the importance that the European Union places on the relationship with us bilaterally and regionally as well and we also consider it an important signal of the genuine concern and active participation that the European Union has maintained in Jamaica’s development over the years.
It is not well known that the European Union makes a substantial contribution each year to Jamaica’s development programmes and I would think that by now you would be, probably our largest contributor.
I know you don’t like me to point this out, that is the nature of your contributions but the truth is that we’re very grateful for the contributions and assistance you have given.
We’re here in Denham Town, I’m touring the Zones of Special Operations because a significant part of the investments that you’ve made in Jamaica in terms of our own social development has been here in communities like this, whether it is in road infrastructure, in basic schools or where we are in a Restorative Justice Centre. Your assistance has been wide-ranging and aligns very much with the strategy of the Zones of Special Operations which is not nearly reliant on the security forces which if I may digress a bit, has done an exceptional job in maintaining security in this area.
It shows that with good partners such as the EU and with us working faithfully towards objectives that we can achieve the goal of human development and what we’re seeing happening here in this very small area which we hope to be able to scale up rapidly and expansively over a short period of time is a microcosm of what can be achieved with social intervention and strategically well-deployed and accountable security forces and that is being done. Inch by inch, minute by minute Jamaica is coming to grips with its social issues, with its crime problem and with the support that you are giving us, I’m certain that we will overcome.
I want to say as well that a large part of the EU’s assistance to Jamaica is in the area of justice and you have been heavily invested in justice outcomes in Jamaica. Sometimes there is some concern, maybe we could escalate that to frustration that we have not seen the results that we would like to see as fast as we would like to see them. I’m here to say Stefano, that we take seriously the tax payers fund of Europeans as we do the taxpayers funds of Jamaicans. The truth is that if we’re spending resources whether it is grant or Jamaican taxes, we must ensure that we get value for money and that is effectively done.
We must have it in the psyche of every single Jamaican, the idea of efficiency that if we have resources that are dedicated to whether it is justice or security or social development that we must get results and it must be accountable, so your visit here is also a fact-finding mission and we interpret it as that, that you want to see that the resources that you are dedicating to your strategic objectives for global development, that they are being met and we being good partners give the commitment that we are being efficient with public resources whether or not they are Jamaica’s public resources or European public resources that we are going to be efficient and effective in implementing the programmes and getting the results and I want to again on behalf of the people of Jamaica and in particular the people of Denham Town who have benefited from the support that you’ve given to, say thank you.