Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Holness Swearing-in | Gov't redoubling efforts to build stronger Jamaica

Published:Monday | September 7, 2020 | 4:35 PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness at his swearing-in at King's House on September 7, 2020 - Kenyon Hemans photo.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says his government will be redoubling its efforts to put Jamaica on a stronger footing amid all the current challenges.

Speaking at his swearing-in at King’s House this afternoon, Holness thanked Jamaicans for their vote of confidence and said that their support will not be treated lightly.

"This government has been given a mandate to move with speed and alacrity in fulfilling the great destiny of this country. We will not squander it. We will use it wisely to build public trust," he said.

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party took home a landslide victory in last week’s general election, winning 48 of the 63 seats.

From the outset, Holness indicated that the government will be strengthening its COVID-19 response measures and he urged Jamaicans to follow the health protocols.

He said similar attention will be given to boosting the economy, fighting corruption and improving the country's social safety, among other things.

Here are more highlights from his presentation:

The immediate work - “There is no honeymoon period for this government,” said Holness, noting that already, he has been at his desk trying to ensure Jamaica’s economic recovery. He promised to maintain and strengthen macroeconomic stability.

COVID-19 - Holness reiterated that Jamaica must be prepared to live with COVID-19. Jamaica does not have the reserves to always be locking down the country, he said.

Corruption - No one has been shown any special favours, said the PM.  He indicated that each elected representative and minister will participate in awareness and sensitisation activities of the Integrity Commission.

"This will be an accountable government," he says.

Governance - "With such a large mandate, the greatest challenge will be to manage the internal demands and behaviours of those who form the majority. Those who feel the majority is a basis for arrogance and selfish ends will be disappointed and soon separated," said Holness.

Internet coverage - Holness said his government will expand broadband in public schools. He indicated that six new science, technology, engineering and Mathematics academies will be created.

"We're committed to closing the digital divide," Holness promises.

He said that all town centres will be serviced with free Wi-Fi as well as community access points. The public sector is to be further digitised and the National Identification System is to be implemented.

Telecommunication - Holness promises that soon there will be no more dropped calls. He says the government will build a national broadband infrastructure to be managed by a public-private entity.

"The network will be appropriately sized. This will be the new information highway," said Holness.

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