“We are taking the dividends of the economic performance…to lift the most vulnerable out of poverty.”– Prime Minister Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the good economic performance of the country has provided the government with the ability to better address the needs of the people.In this regard, the Prime Minister said: “We are taking the dividends of the economic performance, some of which we have put into the compensation review to increase the public sector salaries, some of it is going into programmes like the Lift Programme, Heart NSTA Trust, and social welfare programmes to lift the most vulnerable out of poverty. Speaking on Friday (August 11) at the National Housing Trust (NHT) groundbreaking ceremony for Sheffield Palms in Westmoreland, the Prime Minister noted that there are many Jamaicans who are not earning optimum because they have no skills or are not certified. In response to this problem of unskilled Jamaicans, the government has put programmes in place to reach out to those Jamaicans who are not in the labour force or are about to come into the labour force. The Prime Minister said, “We have recently launched a new programme called the Lift Programme, which is in its pilot phase targeting 500 youngsters per year. We are designing this as a funnel through which we can bring people who have just graduated from high school to prepare them very quickly to go into the world of work.” The Prime Minister also explained that the conversations in the country have now shifted from the country’s ability to deliver to the best use of the proceeds from stellar economic performance. “We recognize the context of Jamaica. It is a context of unfairness historically, where the endowments have not been equally shared, and I want to say to you, your government will ensure that there is equity in the economic fruits that are bearing. That you will have an equal chance of being a participant in the prosperity, we believe not just in prosperity but in shared prosperity,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister encouraged Jamaicans to reflect on their past and not make decisions out of frustration but be patient as the government works to deliver quality services to those in need in a timely manner.