Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
AFTER SPENDING three days huddled with his Cabinet colleagues in a retreat, Horace Dalley wants the nation to pray with him for divine intervention.
Dalley, the minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, told The Gleaner yesterday that he was calling for the Church to pray earnestly for the Portia Simpson Miller-led Government.
"I would call upon the Church to pray for the country, pray for us as leaders, the Government as we proceed in getting the country on a sustainable economic path," he said.
"Pray for the Opposition and those in leadership positions that the Lord will grant us wisdom. We need wisdom to lead, we need compassion," Dalley continued.
The minister had just delivered an address on behalf of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to congregants at the Transformed Life Church on Hope Road in Kingston.
In the message, Simpson Miller said the challenges which the country faces require the collective will and partnership of all sectors.
"While the Government has a responsibility to lead the process, the building of the nation is not a task that it can do alone. Like the building of your congregation. it calls for the contribution, collaboration and cooperation of everyone," the prime minister said.
Dalley noted that Jamaica was a "very religious and spiritual country".
He said: "I don't think any country can succeed or progress without the guiding hands of the Lord."
call for understanding
The minister, who has been leading discussions with public-sector workers for a wage freeze, has urged the country to be more understanding of the situation facing the country.
"We want them to understand what the country is going through and bear with the Government as we take these tough decisions to straighten the affairs of the country and more than anything else, we must pray," Dalley said.
He, however, sought to reassure the country that the Government would not be daunted by the pressures and implored all persons to do their part in sharing the burden.
"Our administration is one of hope, we won't go under; it's a period of sacrifice in order to sort out the economic affairs of the country," he said.
"No one sector will be called upon to share the burden. Every Jamaican will have to do their part in getting the country on a sustainable path."
He further stated: "The country doesn't have to panic. We have to take the decisions to put Jamaica on a progressive path for successive economic growth."
With the country experiencing rapid deterioration in the exchange rate, the one-year-old Government has been under pressure to ink an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said the Cabinet used the retreat to examine the issues with a view to taking decisions as to the final shape of the upcoming Budget against the background of the Economic Reform Programme and discussions with the IMF.
The OPM has indicated that it will today host a media briefing to provide an update on matters discussed at the retreat. Key among the issues is the ongoing negotiations with the IMF.