News from the OPM

Statement from British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Judith Slater on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.
Government On Track for 70,000 Housing Solutions
Prime Minister Announces Gated Communities Act
Government Delivers Housing Solution for the Family of Delano Tucker
Prime Minister Holness Renews Call for Political Consensus on Violence
United States Government Congratulates Jamaica on 60 years of Independence and Provides US$ 2 Million for Cyber Centre of Excellence
Jamaica’s Commonwealth Secretary General Campaign Clean, Transparent, Principled

Jamaica’s Commonwealth Secretary General Campaign Clean, Transparent, Principled

August, 07 2022
In fulfillment of our public commitment to transparency and accountability, the  Government has compiled expenditure related to Jamaica’s candidature campaign for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General. The campaign was efficiently conducted and utilized the existing channels and resources, including already established travel plans and engagements. This significantly minimized, additional and direct expenditure from the Budget for the campaign. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith was offered as Jamaica’s candidate for the post and her candidature launched in London, England in April 2022. There was some assistance for this event from corporate Jamaica. The Minister made strategic use of the opportunities offered by impending official engagements, to carry out lobbying activities.  In that regard, in her capacity as Foreign Minister, Minister Johnson Smith attended meetings of the Economic and Social Council (United Nations, New York, April 2022); the CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum & Expo (Guyana, May 2022); the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (United Nations, Geneva, June 2022) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Rwanda, June 2022). Additionally, Minister Johnson Smith was able to meet with Heads of Government and counterpart Ministers on the margins of these programmed activities, to conduct the work of the Jamaican delegation, and simultaneously, to promote the candidature.  This is standard operation in international organisations, particularly by small states like Jamaica, which are conscious of the need to capitalize on these avenues to conduct international relations, in order to minimize costs. A dedicated and intensive travel schedule was pursued specifically across the continent of Africa spanning seven countries (eight governments) in 10 days.  This was…

Statement by Prime Minister Holness on the Pollution of Rio Cobre

August, 05 2022
I have been following with great concern the developments in relation to the major pollution incident of the Rio Cobre which occurred during the period July 26th to August 4th, 2022.The Rio Cobre is one of Jamaica’s most valuable natural assets and plays a critical role in the social and economic lifeline of thousands of residents and businesses operating in the geographical area that the river spans. The Rio Cobre basin ecosystem supports agriculture, aquaculture, artisanal fishing, sightseeing and leisure tours and many other livelihood opportunities.The recent pollution incident is wholly unacceptable and is inconsistent with the standards Jamaica has set for environmental management and protection.The impacts have been devastating for residents living and operating in the Rio Cobre basin; the livelihoods of our farmers, our fisherfolks, persons who utilize the river for leisure and recreational purposes, as well as major government facilities and investments, owned and operated by the National Water Commission and the National Irrigation Commission.The risk is heightened when one considers the Government’s long-standing plan to extract more water from the Rio Cobre, to supply Kingston & Andrew.The National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA) has concluded its assessments and action will be taken within the current operating legislative framework to prosecute Windalco and to prevent any recurrence of similar pollution incidents.I have directed that NEPA update the country on its findings and next steps in holding the Company to account.I am advised that the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) has already written to the commercial bank holding the environmental performance bond (EPB) posted by Windalco, to recover the full amount in…

GoJ and CMOC Advancing Discussions

August, 05 2022
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 led a high-level delegation in discussions with a team from the Crime Monitoring Oversight Committee (CMOC). DPM Chang was accompanied by Minister Robert Morgan and Senator Kavan Gayle. The CMOC team comprised Chairman Lloyd Distant, Prof. Anthony Clayton, Marc Ramsay, Helene Davis-Whyte, and Keith Duncan. The meeting coincided with the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the National Consensus on Crime Agreement and provided an occasion to advance deliberations between the Government and the CMOC on charting a path to a more effective, impactful and objective monitoring framework. This was in keeping with the government’s commitment to a holistic approach to achieving sustainable crime reduction. During the discussions, it was agreed by all the stakeholders that the basis of the consensus remains sound while noting that there is need for more specificity in what CMOC measures. The key outcome of the discussions hinged on the agreed position that the CMOC framework should be strengthened around focused, measurable indicators that are informed by critical analysis and expertise in Government policies and procedures. The importance of having public buy-in was underscored as another critical aspect of the work of the CMOC that should be addressed moving forward.
Kingston Logistics Park, A Big Step in Developing Jamaica’s Logistics Industry

Kingston Logistics Park, A Big Step in Developing Jamaica’s Logistics Industry

August, 04 2022
“This investment is a sign that even though the challenges seem insurmountable, this Government and future Governments must be committed to chipping away at the problem with greater and more meaningful investments that are going to create jobs and earn foreign exchange,” said Prime Minister Holness.   Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hailed the new Kingston Logistics Park (KLP) as a big step in developing Jamaica’s logistics industry and creating a new stream of foreign exchange that will make the economy more robust to withstand shocks. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of new and resilient industries such as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, which continued to bring in foreign exchange even as tourism revenues declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering this, Prime Minister Holness said, “Now we’re trying to develop another industry, similar to BPOs, but it’s a distinct industry in logistics. And this [Kingston Logistics Park] is a big step in that direction.” The Kingston Logistics Park is a $US 17 million investment and it boasts a 200,000-square metre warehouse which can accommodate up to four large clients. Moreover, it is close to other significant terminals and free zones with easy access to a constantly expanding road network. Prime Minister Holness said: “This investment here today is a sign that even though the challenges seem insurmountable, this Government and future Governments must be committed to chipping away at the problem with greater…
Young People Critical to the Success of ‘Project Jamaica’

Young People Critical to the Success of ‘Project Jamaica’

August, 04 2022
“Young people have a role not only to be critical of the incompleteness and failures of ‘Project Jamaica’, but you also have a duty to be involved in the solutions that will make ‘Project Jamaica’ a success,” - Prime Minister Holness. Prime Minister Andrew Holness is appealing to Jamaican youth to consider their critical role in the success of ‘Project Jamaica’. The Prime Minister underscored that while the Government does its part in advancing infrastructural development, our young people also have an essential part to play in guaranteeing a brighter future for our country. Addressing the Government’s responsibility to the youth, Prime Minister Holness said, “In our 60th year of Independence, we have to commit to improving our housing and infrastructure so that our young people can feel like they’re living in a modern society.” In the same breath, the Prime Minister acknowledged the long-standing issue of brain drain and the frustration many young people experience when they compare Jamaica's pace of development to other countries. Considering this, Prime Minister Holness said: “Young people have a role not only to be critical of the incompleteness and failures of ‘Project Jamaica’, but you also have a duty to be involved in the solutions that will make ‘Project Jamaica’ a success.” The Prime Minister emphasized that the Government maintains its commitment to bridging the dissonance he has observed with the younger generation, especially amid Jamaica 60 celebrations. Prime Minister Holness made the comments yesterday (August 3, 2022) during his keynote address at the handing over ceremony for the National Housing Trust Ruthven Towers, Phase 1 units in Kingston.
Government to Construct Phase 2 of Ruthven Towers

Government to Construct Phase 2 of Ruthven Towers

August, 03 2022
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Government will proceed with the construction of Phase 2 of the Ruthven Towers Apartments, in Kingston 10. The Prime Minister said that after much public uproar occurred over the Ruthven apartments sale price, the Government reevaluated its decision to ensure that the project fits within the mandate that has been given to the NHT, which is to build 70,000 houses for low-income earners. Prime Minister Holness said; “So we made the decision after careful consideration, that we will go ahead with the additional phase, and subject to layout modifications within the allowance for habitable rooms, in Phase Two we will be able to put on the market approximately 234 units.” The Prime Minister further noted that another part of the Government’s mandate is “to have all houses that can be built, to have them built within our financial resources and within the law so that people from all walks of life in Jamaica can benefit.” Continuing, the Prime Minister underscored that the duty of the Government is to facilitate and create opportunities for all Jamaicans from every income bracket. In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness encouraged the public to avoid unreasonable and wild comments that can pose a distraction from ‘Project Jamaica’ which the country is set out to achieve. The Prime Minister was addressing the National Housing Trust’s handing over ceremony of Phase One of the Ruthven Towers Apartments today, (August 3, 2022) in New Kingston. The keys to 86 luxury style one and two bedroom apartment units on the eight-story building were today (August 3) handed over to new homeowners.
Policy Being Developed to Reclaim Lands that Contain Valuable Historical Assets

Policy Being Developed to Reclaim Lands that Contain Valuable Historical Assets

July, 30 2022
“We are moving ahead with legislative reform to ensure  we protect these natural assets and preserve them for generations to come; that is part of our legacy”- PM Holness   Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Government will seek to reclaim the country’s natural assets on privately owned property by purchasing the properties from the owners. Prime Minister Holness said the move is to ensure greater protection of ecologically sensitive natural assets of the country. Speaking yesterday (July 29, 2022) at the site of an illegal sand mine in Treasure Beach St. Elizabeth, Prime Minister Holness underscored that while the current structure of our law does impose a duty and does give a system of protection, these natural assets may be on private property. Addressing the illegal sand mining operation the Prime Minister said; “The Government must take legislative action to increase the fines right across the board. The society is advancing very quickly, the private initiative is moving very quickly.  There is a threat to our social order, and we need to ensure that the legislative framework matches the energy that exists for growth and development and also for deviant behaviour in the country.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness highlighted that the criminal underworld is sometimes tied to illegal operations such as illegal sand mining that destroys the environment. The Prime Minister also stated the Government will be taking a more focused approach to looking at the bauxite issues in Jamaica. “One of the things that have always occupied the minds of Jamaicans is the preservation of the value of our natural assets because our national assets are under threat as they are utilized in the creation of economic wealth.  It is a perennial internal challenge between preserving our natural assets, …
Legislative Protection for 30% of our Geographical Space for Jamaica 60

Legislative Protection for 30% of our Geographical Space for Jamaica 60

July, 30 2022
"Jamaica now has 25% of its lands designated as protected under legislation" – Prime Minister Holness Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday (July 29, 2022) announced the declaration of the Black River Morass, a Protected Area. The Prime Minister said: “Your Government has taken deliberate steps to protect Jamaica's natural assets, we have protected the Cockpit Country, and today we are happy to declare that the Black River Morass Area is now protected. That means Jamaica would have protected 25% of its canvas with those two actions.” Pedro Cays, the Prime Minister announced, will become the third protected area within a few weeks. Prime Minister Holness continued: “Within our 60th year of independence, we should be able to declare that we would have passed 30% of our geographical space under legislative protection, meaning that we can say we are preserving our natural assets; the morass, the rivers, the flora and fauna that they accommodate and support, so that when you and your children stand in this square or some other square 60 years from now, we can say, we have that benefit bequeath to us by the actions of our forebearers 60 years ago.” In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness stated that in preparing for the next 60 years, the Government has plans to improve urban planning and infrastructure development while protecting natural assets. The Prime Minister was speaking yesterday at the Black River Day celebration in the Black River Town Square in St. Elizabeth.

Joint Statement – Productive Discussions on CMOC Future

July, 28 2022
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang and Chair of the Crime Monitoring and Oversight Committee (CMOC) Lloyd Distant, yesterday had productive discussions in relation to the Government's engagement with CMOC.  In the meeting, which was arranged last week, both Dr Chang and Mr. Distant expressed that there was a common understanding on the principle of consensus between the Government and CMOC.  There were also wide-ranging discussions on various targets set via the consensus as well as opportunities that currently exist for continued collaboration and dialogue to improve government legislative processes. Recognizing the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the National Consensus on Crime Agreement, a future meeting in early August was agreed where discussions will continue with a view to look at effective monitoring of the Government’s National Security initiatives.  The meeting will also examine the realignment of the oversight framework to ensure that there is appropriate oversight and implementation program going forward. Dr Chang and Mr. Distant pledged to continue their open and frank engagement towards sustained achievements in the fight against crime, violence, and corruption.