THE PARTNERSHIP FOR JAMAICA AGREEMENT
JULY 31, 2013
A very good morning to you all!
A number of highly significant ceremonies in Jamaica’s history have been held right here in this Ballroom at King’s House, but none more important than this, in which the Partnership for Jamaica Agreement will be signed.
We stand at a critical crossroad in our country’s development. Tough decisions have to be made and effectively implemented, so that we may grow Jamaica out of the stagnation which for too long has defined our economy.
This is a time for building bridges, a time of mutual trust and understanding; a time for sacrifices to be made by all, a time for the common good; a time for genuine cooperation which seeks no political advantage; a time for respectful debate and open communication; a time for people-centred strategies which will fuel Jamaica’s development.
So this morning, at this watershed point in our history, on the eve of our 175th anniversary of Emancipation from slavery, we gather for the signing of a document which commits all parties involved to work together for the full emancipation of Jamaica.
Our nation needs to free itself from the corrosive tribalism which has impeded a unified, coordinated attack on our engrained socio-economic problems. We must liberate ourselves from the slavery to poor work ethics, corrupt practices and the tendency to tear down, rather than uplift each other. Our Leaders, in all sectors, must liberate the genius which is within them to craft and implement policies and programmes for the long-term good of the country, regardless of the impact on the ballot box, membership loyalty, or the short-term bottom line.
The Partnership Agreement calls for all this and more! During the long years of the process which led to this day, each stakeholder must have come to a full understanding of the root causes of the problems which Jamaica faces. You have therefore come to this point with your eyes wide-open to the negative attitudes and practices which have slowed our progress and now threaten our stability.
Therefore, we need all Jamaicans to believe that there is a genuine commitment to abide by the provisions of the Partnership Agreement. All Jamaicans must soon begin to see a positive change in the way the Partners interact with each other and in their accountability to the people of Jamaica. Otherwise, alienation, cynicism and mistrust of leadership will deepen.
I am greatly encouraged by the content of this Agreement and the pledge which all Partners will make this morning by their signature, to uphold its terms both in spirit and in letter. Allow me to cite one paragraph from the Agreement which strongly resonates with me:
“All Partners, in recognising their individual and collective responsibility to uphold and adhere to each one of the commitments given above, resolve to support each other in the fulfilment of commitments by willingly accepting constructive feedback and incisive criticism; and holding each other and the collective Partnership accountable in the best long term interests of the nation.”
This is a solemn vow which you are making not just to yourselves, but to the nation. I regret that at this time it is not possible for the Political Opposition, the Jamaica Labour Party, to adhere to this Partnership and I hope that in the very near future, their internal democratic processes will allow them to get on board. I hope that today will go down in the annals of history as the start of the transformation which will propel Jamaica towards the achievement of Vision 2030 well in advance of that year!
I am excited about being a part of this process and in that spirit, I thank you, Madame Prime Minister, for the honour of hosting this significant signing ceremony at King’s House. I wish to warmly welcome you all. I pledge my whole-hearted support to this Agreement.
May God grant you, the Partners, the wisdom, expertise and endurance to secure the complete success of this Partnership For Jamaica Agreement, and may God bless Jamaica, Land we love!