PRIME MINISTER ANDREW HOLNESS MADE A COMPELLING CASE AT TUESDAY’S OPENING CEREMONY of the Jamaica Security Exchange (JSE) 19th annual conference as he eyes a potential third term at the forthcoming national polls constitutionally scheduled for 2025.
Holness’ ruling centre-right Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) obliterated the field at the 2020 elections sweeping up 49 of the 63 available seats, adding 16 more legislators from the previous election cycle, a 25 percent hike.
As a skilled prosecutor, PM Holness gathered his evidence, including witness testimony, and presented his case to the ‘jury’.
In his ‘evidence in chief’, PM Holness pointed to his country’s most favourable post-independence economic achievements:
Kingston has enjoyed 10 consecutive quarters of economic growth since 2020 following the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which interrupted 20 consecutive periods of such economic achievement prior to its deadly global onslaught.
According to his evidence, Jamaica currently enjoys a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, “the lowest” in Kingston’s history.
Additionally, the forensic evidence he expertly laid out before the 'jury’ showed that the country’s debt-to-GDP gross domestic product) ratio stands at 74 percent. This he argued is the lowest in Jamaica’s history attracting with a ‘BB’ rating from Standards and Poor’s (S&P) and which highlights creditworthiness of a bond issuer, such as corporations or governments.
This too is a first for the land of Reggae and ackee and saltfish, the prime minister said, presenting his evidence.
As he laid out his systematic argument in his evidence in chief, Holness said the country is enjoying a balance of payment (BOP) surplus of some US $372M and international reserves pegged at US $4.75B.
Furthermore, locally, there have been “no new taxes” in the country’s last 8 budgets, and inflation has been trending downward for several years, according to his admissible forensic evidence.
Holness was confident enough too to tell the body of citizens sworn to give a true verdict of his evidence in 2025, that interest rates too will fall to “keep in step” with annual dips in ongoing local inflationary trends.
The PM then turned to testimonial evidence citing very high foreign-investor-interest in Kingston, promising that large investments in the island “will soon be announced”.
Despite global shocks and speed of unpredictable, changes Jamaica has weathered numerous storms and today, the economy is “more robust”. This is as a result of the policies pursued by his JLP party and government he said in his ‘sworn statement’.
Holness assured that his government’s systematic policies since 2015, his country can now “rebound much quicker” from external economic shocks.
He admits there are still roadblocks confronting their national development blueprint: crime and violence although official local statistics, homicide and serious crime are falling, representing “the lowest” in over 12 years.
Nevertheless, he told listeners that the twin evil of crime and violence is now a “public health crisis” threatening the peace, production, and productivity his administration is passionately pursuing although police capacity to solve law-breaking has significantly improved.
Despite the challenges, ‘witness’ Holding said his JLP administration views puts people as the nucleus of its vision in crime-and-violence-fighting. While the police, he explained, can tackle crime, violence however, is a much more complicated issue and beyond law officers’ ability.
“We can conquer domestic, inter-partner and social violence,” Holness told the ‘jury’.
Holness, having presented his case, the ‘jury’ will deliberate a make its verdict known at the next polls.
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