Photo above: PNP Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, fires up supporters at a recent election rally. Photo credit: PNP.
By Peter Richards
CMC Jamaica Correspondent
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – The ruling People’s National Party (PNP), Sunday night, expressed confidence of being returned to power in the general election on Thursday, and appealed to Jamaicans at the same time, not to engage in any violence during the campaign.
“There is no need for violence, no need for confrontation, no need for intimidation. Everyone must work with the security forces to maintain law and order and peace in our communities,” PNP Leader and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller told party supporters at a mass rally at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, St James.
As she has done on previous occasions, the PNP Leader blasted the proposals of the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to abolish income tax for persons earning salaries of J$1.5 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents).
“Beware of those people who are promising to do everything overnight,” she said, adding the tax proposal could hurt the country’s fragile economy.
“We will not derail the economic recovery and throw away the gains the people of Jamaica have made. You have sacrificed too much and we have come too far,” Simpson Miller said, adding that “many of the experts have looked at their plan and are warning that they make no sense.
“They are telling us that the JLP proposed tax plan is not equitable to our workers. Experts tell us that the plan the JLP has…will set back Jamaica’s economic gains. We cannot afford to get back from where we are now…no way”.
Simpson Miller said she is confident that the people want to “move forward, not backward.
“The people of Jamaica have a serious choice to make on Thursday, but it is not a difficult choice. There is the JLP that left the economy…in shambles…there is the PNP that has stabilised the economy and has restored Jamaica’s good name internationally. The choice is clear, the PNP remains Jamaica’s best choice,” she added.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller said that “Celebration Jamaica” which starts later this year is a one billion dollar initiative and will create more than 2,000 hotel rooms “and thousands of new jobs for the people of Montego Bay and other communities in the parish.”
“That is progress,” she said, adding, “comrades we are on a path to prosperity. We are picking up the progress in agriculture, hundreds of acres of land have been given to farmers…we have given over 11 titles..”
Former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, said, the JLP’s “poverty to prosperity” slogan was not a true reflection of its term in office when the JLP had, in fact, increased Jamaica’s level of poverty.
“In 2006-7, we had 9.9 per cent unemployment. Under the JLP, it rose to 10.6 per cent, and in 2012 it was 12.7 per cent. When we left office in 2006, the economy was growing by 2.9 per cent. When the JLP left office, the economy was smaller by 4.6 per cent.”
The veteran politician said, that when he hears the JLP tell the population they are “going to move you from poverty to prosperity, I have to ‘jook’ them with figures. They know about poverty, but they do not know about prosperity.
Patterson, the country’s sixth prime minister, who retired from active politics in 2006, said that, by contrast, the ruling party has worked hard to stabilise Jamaica’s economy since its return to power in 2011.
“Andrew Holness said they were going to administer bitter medicine. Instead of bitter medicine, we found the right doctor who could administer the proper antidote so the patient could live.
“Jamaica is now regarded as a bright and rising star in the economic firmament… Jamaica now has a good credit rating, and it is a place to do business,” he told supporters.