Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Partnership Council has operated seamlessly across successive administrations and has proved invaluable to nation building. He was speaking as Chairman at a meeting of the Council, which comprises leaders from the Government, parliamentary opposition, private sector, civil society, church, academia, trade unions and youth advocates, on July 15, 2021.
The meeting explored the role of social partnership in Jamaica, in the context of the preparation of a new agreement to govern the Council’s activities over the next four years.
The Prime Minister outlined some of the areas of focus the Government was considering for the new agreement. He noted, however, that input from the other partners was vital and asked that based on the areas of focus, feedback be submitted within 30 days.
Discussions also focused on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Holness explained the difficult and delicate balance required to preserve lives and livelihoods and the considerations around the Government’s recent recrafting of the measures to facilitate controlled re-opening of the entertainment sector. There was consensus on the need to maintain a high degree of caution and vigilance, particularly in the context of the emergence of more transmissible variants and our relatively low rate of vaccinations.
The Partnership Council expressed support for the Government’s call for all Jamaicans to be proactive and take personal responsibility by adhering to the protocols established under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), that have been proven to be effective in controlling the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, there was a frank and open discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the Council’s contribution over the life of the last agreement with suggestions being put forward for its improvement. There was consensus on the partnership process serving Jamaica well, particularly by fostering dialogue, cooperation, and collaboration among various sectors of the society as well as with the Government.
The Partnership Council re-affirmed its commitment to, and role in nation building.