Addressing party adherents at the 81st annual conference of the PNP at the National Arena today, Dr. Phillips said the Opposition expects that arrests will emanate from the various corruption scandals which have rocked the Jamaica Labour Party Government over the last couple of years.
“We expect arrests to be made...Be it minister fi get arrest, former minister fi get arrest, high official fi get arrest, low official fi get arrest, connected party people fi get arrest…we expect the police to do their jobs.we expect the police to do their jobs,” said the opposition leader, who added that “transparency and accountability” is expected.
“We will not rest until justice is done by the people of Jamaica. We are not going to stand by and see those who are corrupt go unpunished,” he insisted.
The opposition leader pointed to the islandwide escalation in murders and other criminal activity, stating that the government has “presided over, and created a climate of fear, with a chaotic and non-existent plan to stem the rising crime”.
“The people of Jamaica have seen seven states of Emergency in 21 months as murders and shootings continue to climb. We have had two Ministers of National Security and two Commissioners of police and we can’t even get a crime fighting plan,” he said.
He said the party plans to deal with crime will involve the reform of the Police Force.
“It has to become more efficient at detection, investigation and evidence gathering, which will contribute to effective prosecution.The key to successful policing is good intelligence gathering and the protection of evidence.We will introduce appropriate legislation to strengthen the capacity of our intelligence services.”
Phillips told the gathering of party supporters, that under his leadership the PNP will offer “solutions and share some of our plans to fix Jamaica”.
“Our mission is to build a Jamaica where - we all share a sense of common purpose, where everyone has a chance to step up in life, where all children have a good education ; Where first class health is available to all.” He called on the Prime Mininister to honour his promise to meet with the PNP and civil society in an effort to create a workable crime plan for the country.
Dr. Phillips said transformation of the education system was one of the key planks on which his party will contest the next general election. He declared that in order to change the country's path "we have to face, head on, the challenge of educating all our young people for the competitive world of today."
Dr Phillips reaffirmed the party's commitment to expanding opportunities in tertiary education and ensuring that the first child in every family that qualifies for university is awarded a full scholarship.
"We will guarantee that the first child in the family that qualifies for university will get a full scholarship under a PNP government. I want to re-state that we will make student loan financing more accessible by removing the requirement for a guarantor. We will cap the payment to a reasonable percentage of the graduate’s earnings," Phillips declared.
He said a PNP government will finally abolition the shift system. Additionally, he promised to "provide one sure meal per day for our children."
"Too many of our children are going to school with little or no food. Pickney cannot learn on hungry belly. We will make a major national effort to raise the quality of education in the underperforming schools and to nurture and mentor the students in those schools."
Concerning agriculture, Phillips said that access to land is also critical “to the re-building of our agriculture and rural economy”.
“Remember, 60 per cent of those who work the land have no title to the land.Without a title, there is little or no access to credit.With the collapse of export agriculture, the lands that used to be in production must be made available to those who are prepared to produce.This will involve crops that will reduce our food dependency”.
The Opposition Leader said production must also include specialist crops like marijuana, cocoa, ginger, mushrooms and others.”
He said the party will also establish Parish Committees to process applications transparently.
“We will put an end to the closed door and “under the table operations” going on now”.
“We must concentrate on feeding ourselves and reducing the US$1 billion of food imports.We will provide adequate financing, proper technologies and access to the first class lands much of which are lying in ruin”
Dr. Phillips promised supporters that the party will fix the problems plaguing the country.
“We can make life better for our people! I have done it before. We in the PNP have done it before. Together, we took Jamaica from the brink of economic collapse – and we will do it again!
According to Phillips, the PNP must be ready for a general election.
“The people are crying out.They can’t take any more of this uncaring and corrupt government.We know elections are approaching.We must be ready! We must be prepared! We must work, organize, win. That is the WOW that we bring to this Conference,” he said.
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