By Derrick Scott
Washington, D.C. – Jamaica is making great progress towards achieving its first long-term national development plan, according to Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks.
This plan aims to put Jamaica in a position to achieve develop country status by the year 2030, she explained.
In delivering the key note address at the sixth annual fundraising dinner of Maryland-based Partners of Good Shepherd Jamaica on Saturday, May 5, Ambassador Marks said that plan is based on the comprehensive vision that Jamaica can be the place of choice to live, work, raise family and do business.
Over 300 patrons were on hand for the event, which was held at the Hollywood Ballroom, in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.
The Ambassador praise Partners for Good Shepherd Jamaica, saying its activities will contribute in large measure to achieving the targets outlined in the country’s national development plan, as regards poverty reduction and access to education and health care in particular.
Ambassador Marks told the large gathering that Jamaica is making great strides on its macro-economic agenda, to the extent that for the first time in over a decade no new taxes were introduced this year.
She stated that more Jamaicans are now employed than ever before in the history of the country, and that the Government has created over 60,000 new jobs in the past 2 years and has cut unemployment to 9.6%.
Emphasising that the Jamaican dollar, which had depreciated over 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, has stabilized at a floating exchange rate of between $125 and $128 to the US dollar, Ambassador Marks went on to lament that “despite the many good things that are happening in Jamaica, we are still struggling with crime, especially in the area of lottery scamming. As a result, the government has taken drastic actions to tackle this monster.”