Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Holness hails partners for inking agreement

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says while the relationship between Government and civil society has been contentious and adversarial at times, he is pleased that there is an understanding and willingness to work together in the Partnership for a Prosperous Jamaica.

At the signing of the agreement at King's House yesterday, the prime minister applauded representatives from civil society, the unions, and the private sector for inking the accord.

Holness argues that the basis of the partnership with critical sectors of the country is for the stakeholders to figure out how they can move from a win-lose to a win-win situation.

He stressed that in order for the Government to grapple with the deep issues of the society, it was necessary to partner with a strong civil society.

The head of government hailed former prime ministers P.J. Patterson, Bruce Golding, and Portia Simpson Miller for playing their part in advancing partnerships between government and civil society over the years. Said Holness: "I intend to deepen and advance the relationship."

IMPORTANT MECHANISM

The partnership agreement seeks to advance fiscal discipline, economic growth and job creation, the rule of law and reduction of violence, and public-sector transformation.

"So the partnership is not just signing a piece of paper. It is a very important mechanism to manage change and to resolve conflict," he said.

Diana McCaulay, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Environment Trust and representative of civil society, said the National Partnership Council represents an important opportunity to build a better future for all Jamaicans, noting that it brings together leaders from critical national sectors to honestly discuss the country's development challenges and imperatives.

While acknowledging that the agreement was not perfect, McCaulay said it demonstrated the joint intention of the stakeholders to ensure that the interests of all sectors of the country are considered in national discourse and decision-making.

In his comments, President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association O'Neil Grant, who represented the trade unions, stressed the need for cooperation between the various sectors of the society to ensure that the country achieves its potential.

President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Paul Scott said that Jamaica had not lived up to its full economic potential. He said the country had suffered from high levels of debt, national overspending, and low performance in many indicators for the last 40 years.

"However, over the last three years, there has been a deliberate move to turn around these misfortunes, and at the centre of this, has been the partnership for stakeholders."