The PSOJ has noted the changes made by PM Andrew Holness to the Cabinet recently. We believe that overall, it demonstrates a degree of stability and focus to the Government’s strategic areas, which are needed at this time given the overwhelming impact of COVID-19 across various sectors and our dire crime levels.
Following an earlier appeal by the PSOJ for a designated Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, the PSOJ is pleased to note its implementation under the leadership of Hon. Pearnel Charles Jnr and Minister of State, Frank Witter. We hope to see proactive and innovative policies being implemented to drive growth in this critical sector.
With the appointment of Minister Malahoo-Forte to lead the Ministry of Legislation and Constitutional Affairs, we hope to see an increased pace in matters dealing with the legislative agenda with a specific focus around education and crime reduction.
The PSOJ believes the decision to have the Information portfolio as a standalone Ministry is needed at this time as the Ministry of Education and Youth requires a singular focus to ensure we address the issues plaguing our education system including the significant learning loss experienced by our students since the onset of the pandemic. Further, it is critical that the public receives consistent engagement on the policy commitments of the Administration through the Information Ministry.
The appointment of Derrick McKoy as the Attorney General is a welcomed move, as we note the vast breadth of experience and expertise, he brings through his distinguished legal career.
We acknowledge the move to merge the responsibilities of the Environment and Climate Change under the auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister, which also entails the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. It is imperative that these policies reflect an integrative approach with our economic sustainability goals as opposed to being isolated. With proper governance and control mechanisms in place, we believe that these agendas may be able to thrive in unison rather than hinder progress made whether in the environmental or economic development realms.
The PSOJ also welcomes the appointment of Senator The Hon Aubyn Hill to the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and we look forward to seeing the policies outlined under his stewardship to bolster the Ministry’s key targets.
We appreciate the clarity provided around the role of Minister without Portfolio, Floyd Green on the implementation and rollout of the NIDS programme, which we believe is a critical component to our development as a digital society. To this end, we urge the Prime Minister to provide further details on the roles of the Ministers without Portfolio within the OPM and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
It was our expectation that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, now being led solely by Hon. Karl Samuda, would have had a Junior Minister assigned as seen in the previous appointments. The mandate of labour reform is extensive and critical to the nation’s growth and as such could continue to benefit greatly from succession planning within the leadership of this ministry.
The PSOJ maintains that the Government of Jamaica owes a debt of transparency and accountability in all its affairs to the people of this nation. We remain a committed partner in enabling sustainable growth and productivity and will continue to monitor this trajectory as we work to build a resilient economy. We hope to see in coming iterations of the Executive the utilization of the brightest minds in the most strategic positions.