PNP promises quicker pace for gov't projects
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
A 124-PAGE self-assessment of its first-year performance has been published by the governing People's National Party (PNP), which its chairman, Robert Pickersgill, says is another example of the party's commitment to transparency and accountability.
"The launch of the year-one report card establishes a reference with which and against which our progress as an administration to implement the plans in our manifesto, national Budget Debates and Sectoral Debates are being upheld," Pickersgill said during a press conference at the party's Old Hope Road headquarters yesterday.
The document, which outlines various achievements by the Government, however, is not a critical analysis of the party's first year in power as it has no acknowledgement of shortcomings.
The party, however, said its first-year report card has focused on promises kept and in train, and acknowledged that "there is much work to be done to complete the five-year action plan successfully".
PNP General Secretary Peter Bunting said the ministers were asked to report on their performance and the document compiled. He said the report card was to be presented at the party's National Executive Council - the highest decision-making body outside of conference - for discussion.
Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson is insisting that the evaluation was not done in abstract. "We set specific things that we would do and we have assessed against what we said we would do," Robinson said.
Bureaucracy slows projects
In the meantime, Bunting said the nature of bureaucracy slowed the pace at which the Government was able to implement projects.
"It is frustrating, the pace at which things can move through the bureaucracy but having said that, I think we have achieved a lot, and in this, what I call the foundation year of the first term of the administration, I think we have established a sound platform and you are going to see the pace, the momentum, in this year be substantially increased relative to last year," Bunting said.
Among the achievements being claimed by the PNP is an improvement in the viability of the state-run Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).
The party said there was a 45 per cent increase in ridership on the JUTC's express service and a 10 per cent increase in ridership for the premium service.
It is also claiming that there was a 30 per cent reduction in accidents involving JUTC buses, down from 591 to 411.
In the area of national security, the PNP said serious violent crimes are down by seven per cent; sexual offences, assaults against minors went down by 16 per cent and the lowest murder figure (1,087) was recorded in nine years.
In the finance ministry, the PNP noted that some 3,000 vacant posts were cut from the central civil service establishment and work was currently under way to remove a similar number of posts from public bodies.
The party also recorded on its scorecard, the establishment of a central treasury management system with a pilot phase taking place within the finance ministry.