Editors' Forum | Phillips calls for more inclusive economic plan
People’s National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips says the Government needs to take a more inclusive approach to economic development as the current system is limiting growth, leaving the majority of the population trapped in low-wage jobs and restricting the participation of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
He made this statement yesterday while speaking at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum held at the company’s head offices on North Street in Kingston as he outlined his plans for the party and the country if he retains the presidency of the PNP and take the reins as prime minister after the next general election.
Phillips is facing a party leadership challenge from Central Manchester Member of Parliament Peter Bunting with a September 7 special delegates’ conference set to bring the race to a closure.
While not knocking the gains made in the macroeconomy since the Andrew Holness-led administration took office, the opposition leader said there needs to be more focus on SMEs.
“We are not against big business, but we recognise that a trickle-down philosophy is not working, will not work. So what you really need is a direct effort to lift those producers who are now informal, bring them into the formal economy, provide access to financing,” he said.
He added: “We believe we have a way that will unlock $100 billion of financing for this segment. I’m talking about the cabinetmaker who we often don’t recognise, don’t see, but you, on your rural tours, will see them under the mango tree; the welder who has a little shop; … the youth who is trying to develop an app in his bedroom. We want all of these people to become part of a mainstream economic opportunity, economic life.”
Promoting a message of inclusiveness, Phillips said that ordinary citizens should be included in the dialogue on issues of national interest.
“I think I should mention ... that we believe also in a participatory democracy and society. We have never been in our party – nor am I, nor are we now – believers that wisdom flows from a political directorate isolated from the people. That’s why we’ve insisted that there should be a consultation in relation to the crime problem because it’s really going to be solved when the majority of the population log on to a particular vision of crime control, and are willing to be participants in the effort to recover secure societies in their communities,” the PNP president said.