Phillips urges PNP to uplift poor, improve middle class
Dr Peter Phillips, the immediate past president of the People's National Party (PNP), has charged the party to do more to improve the lives of Jamaicans amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need a PNP committed to the upliftment of the poor, and the improvement of the lot of the middle classes. Our nurses, our policemen and women, our civil servants, and our teachers, all of whom along with many others, are now struggling on the margins of survival,” Phillips said in a pre-recorded address at the PNP's 83rd annual general conference today.
Phillips highlighted the impact of the fallout in the economy due to COVID-19 on farmers and small business operators, who he said have had to endure far worse financially than the operators of larger businesses.
He also declared that several small businesses have closed have since the pandemic, with workers being placed in a “hand to mouth” existence as a result.
In June, Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson argued that unclaimed money and sums sitting in dormant bank accounts should be made accessible to small and micro-sized businesses that are suffering under COVID-19 conditions.
At a quarterly briefing on the economy in August, the Planning Institute of Jamaica revealed that growth during the April to June 2021 quarter was spurred by increased domestic and external demand for Jamaica's goods and services as a result of relaxed COVID-19 measures due mainly to an increased global roll-out of vaccinations.
However, that growth level was still below 2019 pre-pandemic levels, based on the deeper level of contraction in the 2020 corresponding quarter.
- Christopher Thomas
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