Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Time To Rebuild
The Gleaner
January 1, 2001

THE PRIME Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Governor-General have urged Jamaicans to use the start of the New Year to reassess themselves and make the rebuilding process top priority as they strengthen their resolve to keep moving ahead.

In their New Year's messages to the nation for 2002, the three concentrated on learning from past mistakes and moving positively towards the future.

In his message, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson encouraged Jamaicans to work together this year, especially to overcome crime and violence and to get beyond the "violent July convulsions in West Kingston and the ravages of flooding in October".

"The dawning on a New Year is a time of hope and promise," the Prime Minister said. "If we all work together we can overcome the seemingly intractable problems -- crime and violence, the ready dispensation of justice for all and the creation of more employment opportunities, especially for our youth and women."

The Prime Minister said that Jamaicans have made "considerable progress in many areas of national life, including the rebounding of the financial sector and insurance markets" and the new year promises to have some good things in store for all, including the Royal visit, the passage of the Charter of Rights, the completion of Local Government reform, the start of the social justice programme, the revitalisation of agriculture and the creation of quality jobs through information technology.

Leader of the Opposition Edward Seaga said that though Jamaica is "disconnected" and Jamaicans have "lost forever the benefits of at least 20 of the last 40 years because of policies which ravaged the economy in the 1970s and 90s", so "we may never in our lifetime catch up with our sister countries in the Caribbean", there was no more time to lose and no more years to slip away.

"We have to get back in the process of rebuilding now without delay," Mr. Seaga said, outlining a comprehensive plan for rebuilding the economy in the coming weeks which includes utilising the country's natural resources. He said that to "pull ourselves out of the stagnation, we have the fertile land, scenic beauty and mineral resources, enough that we have no reason to be poor".

For his part, Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke said that Jamaicans should give thanks to God for taking them through the past year and pray for His continued guidance in the New Year. He said that 2002 should be a year of commitment to sound family values, where good values like honesty, discipline and integrity reign.

"It must become imperative that we carry a song in our hearts -- "I love Jamaica" -- and aim to have our country become a showpiece of creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity for all the world to see", he said. "Let us unite to remove the diabolical expressions of violence, anger and ill will and replace them with total love for our country and the people around us."