FOR THE fifth time since forming the Government in January 2012, the Portia Simpson Miller-chaired Cabinet is to go into retreat.
Sandrea Falconer, minister with responsibility for information, said the Cabinet retreat will take place this Sunday.
"Cabinet ministers will discuss the growth agenda, including job-creation strategies, human-capital development, social inclusion, improved security and safety, fiscal prudence, and the pursuit of a credible economic programme," Falconer said at yesterday's weekly Jamaica House press briefing.
But Robert Montague, chairman of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, seems less than impressed and told The Gleaner, "We have heard this before and we are anxiously awaiting action on the talk."
The announcement of the Cabinet retreat follows a revelation by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips that Jamaica has not presented its programme to the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for approval.
"As of now, we have no active plan that is focused on any disturbance in the external debt portfolio that the Government of Jamaica presently possesses," Phillips said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
"There are some contingent discussions that are now taking place between the Fund - that is to say the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank - regarding the extent of the commitments from each institution in support of the Fund programme," Phillips said.
He added: "The specific submission of the programme to the IMF board will await the outcome of these discussions taking place this week in Washington … . It is still possible, and we do expect that the soonest possible date will be forthcoming and, indeed, it remains possible before the end of March."
The Simpson Miller Cabinet last went into retreat in January, at which time it discussed, among other things, aspects of the country's economic programme to be submitted to the IMF.
SHOW SHARED SACRIFICE
Montague told The Gleaner that the Cabinet should use this retreat to "discuss how they are going to cut the Cabinet, even for optics, which is showing shared sacrifice".
He also said that the Cabinet should resolve to sell the 16 SUVs which were purchased when the new Government came to power, and put the money into the Students' Loan Bureau.
"They should use the time to deal with the real and living issues that the people of Jamaica have to contend with, including a sliding dollar," Montague further said.