In his New Year’s Message, the prime minister noted that “Jamaica has had a long and successful history in administering national vaccination programmes through our primary healthcare system.
He said “the Government will engage in a public education campaign and strongly recommend and urge Jamaicans, particularly those who are vulnerable to get vaccinated. The vaccine will be free of cost to those who seek to obtain it through the public health system.”
The prime minister observed that “Jamaica has done well in managing the pandemic, relative to its resources. Our objective was always to flatten the curve; that is, to contain the number of persons in need of medical treatment, so as not to overwhelm the health care system and to do this for as long as possible until a vaccine became available. Our healthcare and other frontline workers have done an outstanding job of keeping us safe and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Holness pointed out that “the pandemic has had far more than just health implications. It has laid bare the fragile world in which we live. Our economies have been affected at every level - globally, nationally and, most importantly, the economy of your household.”
He observed that “the pandemic has also taken a toll on our education system. The society has not yet fully contemplated the impact psychologically and functionally on our children, teachers and parents,” pointing out that it “has also highlighted our infrastructure challenges; particularly broadband internet connectivity.”
“The pandemic has caused us to rethink the organization of our society and has provided the basis on which long desired but feared change can take place. The need for a digital society, greater financial inclusion as we move towards cashless transactions and a national identification system for accountable distribution and access to services are all imperatives as a result of the pandemic,” Holness declared.
He explained that “the Government is responding to these imperatives and, in 2021 will:
- advance the development of a digital currency;
- pass the National Identification Bill;
- continue to expand and intensify the programme for financial inclusion; and
- expand broadband internet access.”
The prime minister went on to obsewrve the uptick in the Construction and Real Estate Development sector recognizing "its potential to create jobs, transform the built environment, modernize infrastructure and improve quality of life. However, proper regulation is needed; otherwise development will be chaotic. The Government is sensitive to social, environmental and property rights tensions that are emerging. In 2021, we will bring greater development, enforcement and regulatory focus to this sector."
Holness said his administration hopes to transform the island's educational system during 2021 , notiong that "the Education Transformation Commission has been working and is on target to deliver their report during the first half of 2021. This will give us a roadmap towards transforming the system and making it fit for the 21st century and the 4th industrial revolution."
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