My fellow Jamaicans: The year 2012 has come to a close. It is timely therefore that we reflect on its passing. Undoubtedly we will do so with mixed emotions. At times our spirits fell to abysmal lows such as at the gruesome murders and physical abuse of our women. We experienced dissappointing economic decline, deterioration in our net international reserves (NIR), and a worrying depreciation in the value of the Jamaican dollar.
Thankfully, there were times when our spirits rose to incredible highs. As we basked in the glory of the successes and achievementsof our athletes at the 2012 Olypmics and we proudly celebrated our 50th year of independence.
For this New Year, let us focus on the imperatives to achieve our economic independence. At the heart of this thrust must be a collective resolve to:
- Increase our productivity and efficiency,
- Reduce the cost of energy,
- Reform our tax and incentive systems,
- Foster greater public private partnerships, and
- Develop new industries and business opportunities
- As a people we know what to do, Jamaica is not short on knowledge; we are short on the resolve to implement. Let this be the year of action.
As a nation must draw on our reserves of courage and endurance to face the challenges of 2013.
We take courage in the knowledge that we have always been resilient enough to adapt to the most difficult situations.
We are a bold, confident people, and i have faith in the ability of the Jamaican nation to rise above political divisiveness, to be analytical and to cooperate in finding consensus on issues which are critical to our survival.
The opposition will continue to be the guardians of the hopes and aspirations of the Jamaican people. We will not give up the basic commitments we have made to our people, to work to ease their economic and social burdens, especially in the areas of education, national security and health care.
We will provide critical support to those programs and policies which we see as beneficial to the Jamaican people.
The image of Jamaica as a land of talented and creative individuals is shared and validated around the world. We must continue to live up to that reputation.
For individuals and families, it is a time for new resolutions. A time to make changes where necessary and a time to celebrate the opportunity to see the dawn of another year.
May god bless you all as we strive to make Jamaica a better place to live, work, raise our families and do business.
I wish for you all, a safe, productive and happy 2013.