5 things Jamaicans can give thanks to the PNP for
With the so called “calling” of the election date by the Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, being just around the corner it would only be apt to review the People National Party (PNP)’s most recent time in governance. However, instead of taking the all too common critical view. We have decided to balance things out a bit, this time with a focus on the positive plans, policies and actions which were initialized, implemented and executed by the Jamaican government over the last four years. So without further ado, here are the top five we give thanks to the PNP for under this most current version of the PNP administration.
For the past four years, this PNP administration has been especially focused on providing the best education possible for the Jamaican people. More than over a 100 new schools for infants have been created this in addition to the more than 70 million being spent to provide education for children with challenges. Over the years there has been also been a steady increase in student performance in the CSEC examination. With the pass rate for students sitting English jumping from 52% in 2012 to 62% in 2015 and for those sitting Maths from 38% to 65% over that same time period. These are all statistics that any person in power could hang their hat on, especially a leader of a developing nation not immediately known for its academic exploits.
4. Transportation Infrastructure
Although they signed their initial agreement in 2009 under the previous opposition government, the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has achieved most of their major targets while being supported by the present PNP regime. Two key projects — the Palisadoes Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation Works and the island wide Jamaica Development Infrastructure which features the construction of the North-South Highway in addition to the smaller but no less critical construction of two bridges: The Rio Grande Bridge in Portland and The Westmoreland Bridge have significantly helped the transportation between parishes ultimately helping to cut down vehicular travel times and provide safer alternative routes to those that previously existed.
3. International Monetary Fund
Initially brought to the Jamaican parliament in 1977 by then prime minister and PNP leader Michael Manley, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan agreement has been a part of Jamaican life for almost 4 decades. The IMF, in addition to the World Bank are collectively responsible for regulating the international monetary system. When joining the IMF, a country is an assigned quota which reflects its economic power. The country is then obliged to pay a subscription of an amount proportionate with the quota it was given. Each country is allowed to withdraw 25% of its quota in case of payment problems. While Jamaica’s current deal with IMF is far from ideal, it is important to note that last four years has seen an unprecedented amount of tests from the IMF being passed by the Jamaican government. This is not be scoffed at as these set of tests of the economy are ones that this country cannot possibly afford to fail. For proper reference on the subject please look to what happened to the economies of Argentina and most recent Greece when they both defaulted on their debt payments to powers that be. The best course of action for Jamaica is to stay the course until this current agreement is up and hope that a better deal could be garnered in the near future.
2. Ganja Legislation
Jamaica’s association with the marijuana plant over the years has been well documented and even lauded. The smoking and imbibing of this herb is the backbone of the only major religion that has its origins in this country (Rastafari) and has been a major part of the several musical forms that emanate from this island. However, due to international regulations against marijuana and some of its components, our nation has never before been able to capitalize on the obvious global popularity of plant— that is until now. This year, the PNP has made the first proactive step towards the complete decriminalizing of the marijuana plant with the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act. With the waiving of the possession of under 2 ounces of ganja offence for all at or above the age of 18, the cultivating of the plant for scientific research and the acknowledgement of the sacramental uses by Rastafarians being some of the key points of the reform. With this measured first step, it won’t be long before even more steps could be taken to allow Jamaica to finally benefit from this obvious cash crop without fear of sanctions from the international community. This would be the perfect legacy gift from the PNP to the people of Jamaica.
1. Ease of Doing Business Index Rankings
Currently Jamaica is ranked number 1 in the Caribbean region for the Ease of Business Index released by the World Bank. This yearly indicator takes into account factors such as: Getting Credit, Entrepreneurship, Registering Property and the all-important Starting a Business. Coming in at a very credible 64th in the world, Jamaica excelled in the areas of Getting Credit and Starting a Business, ranking among the top 10 economies worldwide. Incorporating a company in Jamaica takes only 3 days and 2 interactions with government agencies. To achieve all of this despite the aforementioned economic challenges is something that should be lauded and would not have been possible without the guidance and policies of a government that wasn’t focused on fostering and nurturing strong business practices from its citizens.
The PNP has surely turned Jamaica around from economic depression and uplift the outlook of Jamaica to international scene. Only time will tell when every single Jamaican will feel the betterment.