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Creativity of thought and innovation to guide Cabinet

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 3:00 AMGary Spaulding
Prime Minister Andrew Holness with the Code of Conduct for Ministers with which he wants them to familiarise themselves.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has impressed on the executive arm of government the need to keep the public's interest at the forefront of all deliberations even as he summons creativity.

Holness' declaration has come five days after he urged the legislative arm of governance to put Jamaica first during the first sitting of Parliament.

"All our decisions must bear in mind and have forefront in our minds the interest of the Jamaican people," he asserted yesterday.

Holness was delivering his opening admonition to senior ministers of the administration that he leads at the first meeting of the new Cabinet.

While the legislative arm enacts legislation in order to maintain good order, the executive arm makes decisions on policies, plans, and programmes of the Government.

UNCONVENTIONAL THINKING

As chair of the Cabinet, the prime minister yesterday offered journalists a glimpse of the workings of the county's executive, which are kept out of the public glare.

"When we deliberate, do not be afraid to be unconventional," Holness told members. "Place on the table innovative, out-of-the-box thinking because it is through this infusion of creative thinking that we will bring solutions to the challenges and problems of Jamaica."

It was not until 30 minutes after the 2 p.m. change of the sentries positioned at the front of the Office of the Prime Minister that Holness emerged to call the first Cabinet meeting to order.

"I want to welcome all our new ministers, and, of course, the ministers who were here before," he declared.

Holness commented that many had taken back their old seats and seemed very comfortable in them and prepared for hard work.

It is Holness' second stint as chair of the nation's executive. The first was during the last quarter of 2007 before he called the general election, in which the Jamaica Labour Party that he leads suffered defeat.

PRIVATE DELIBERATIONS

He noted that unlike the situation in the legislature, deliberations in the executive were not exposed to the public, and as such, the public would not be aware of the considerations that informed decisions.

"This makes it even more critical that the persons who sit around this table always bear the public's interests forefront in their minds," he stressed. "There must be no other interests that guide our deliberations."

He added: "We must make decisions quickly, while examining all perspectives of the matter before us."

Continued Holness: "We must be the cascading example for efficiency in the public sector, which starts with taking the decisions efficiently and wisely."

In making decisions, Holness encouraged Cabinet members to always accommodate the vulnerable in society.

He told Cabinet members that he would be circulating the Code of Conduct for Ministers. "I encourage you to become familiar with its content and abide by the code."

According to Holness, the country had high expectations of the new Government.

"We cannot disappoint. We must be committed and remain focused on our commitments," he added. "The people of Jamaica want to see a government that is delivering on its commitments."

The prime minister reiterated his promise to remain focused and committed. "We will move Jamaica to prosperity."