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Lisa Hanna Sectoral Debate 2016

  2. FRATERNITY Mr. Speaker, I give God thanks for the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I give thanks to my beloved South East St. Ann for again investing their trust in me for a third consecutive term. It is the hopes and aspirations of my remarkable constituents which have sustained and inspired me to fight on through some of the more difficult periods in my political career. I am grateful to the people, my constituency office staff, my Executive and the Comrade delegates for standing firm with me as we keep South East St. Ann strong, fortified and resilient. I also wish to acknowledge and express gratitude to the Leader of the Opposition, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, for the confidence reposed in me over our last term in Government. Serving the people of Jamaica, particularly our young people, has been an unqualified privilege. Mr. Speaker let me also place on record my appreciation to my personal staff, my former Permanent Secretary Mrs. Sherrill O’Reggio Angus, my Board Chairmen and members of the various boards, the Heads of agencies, and all the staff of the former Ministry of Youth and Culture, which I had the privilege to lead as Minister. We did some great work and accomplished some very important milestones for this country. We did it together in the best interest of Jamaica. Thank you And to my family Richard and Alexander, thank for your undying love and support. 3
  3. LIBERTY Mr. Speaker on December 1, 2014, Americans spent a record $2.65 billion online. However, just weeks before, a much more significant online shopping explosion took place. November 11 in China, is regarded as ‘Singles Day,’ the unofficial antithesis to Valentine’s Day, started in the 1990s by single college students. Today this tradition is a mega event for noticeable online shopping. Mr. Speaker, on November 11, 2014, Alibaba, China’s biggest “e-tailer,” recorded sales of more than $9.3 billion, a record for a single day anywhere in the world. To put things in perspective Mr. Speaker, in one day, one Chinese Company, sold more than twice the national budget of Jamaica “Of the $1.8 trillion of new global economic activity in 2013, China alone accounted for $1 trillion, or 60 percent of it.1 ” That country is now the world’s largest manufacturer, a country that liberalized its economy less than 40 years ago. In 1980 China had a per capita income of US$200, today it is 20 times bigger at US$4000. Believe it or not, of all the countries in the world, China today has the most private billionaires. It’s not just China. Between 1990 and 2010, the world’s center of economic gravity has moved more quickly than at any other time in recorded history. Emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil are now major forces in global manufacturing. Manufacturing value added has doubled in real terms since 1990, from US$5 trillion to US$10 trillion today, and the share of that value added generated by large emerging economies has also nearly doubled, moving from 21% to 39% over the past decade.2 1 Dobbs, Richard “No Ordinary Disruption” 2 Dobbs, Richard “No Ordinary Disruption” 4
  4. POSSIBILITY Mr. Speaker, there is no new world coming, it is already here. It is ever changing and dynamic with no fixed rules for success, or guaranteed patterns of protection to give us a head start on larger countries. That is why Mr. Speaker while I was Minister, one of my principal goals was to orient our approaches around preparing our youth to succeed in the global market place. Before we implemented anything, we went around the country and engaged and listened to over 3000 youth including the thousands online. Coming out of those consultations the NYS added 8 new programmes involving personal development, entrepreneurship, private sector on the job placement through MOUs with the PSOJ, scholarships for higher education, agricultural training and grants for rural youth, while at all times reserving 10% of all spaces for youth with disabilities. Near and dear to my heart was the New Employment Opportunities (NEO) programme which is a joint venture between the Inter American Development Bank, and was signed off in November 2015. Through the NYS, we led the process of developing a national programme for youth at risk which would bring together the resources of the Government of Jamaica with private sector firms, to prepare and ensure placement for some 10,000 young people over a three year period. I am glad to see that the current Government has seen it fit to continue this programme and other programmes started by the previous Administration. Mr. Speaker with all our programmes over the past 4 years we were able to engage and train over 280,000 youth in this country, not including our online programmes. 5
  5. But this is still not enough to get us where we need to be and in the time that we need to it get done! Mr. Speaker our administration fixed the foundations and placed this economy on firm footing. But for us to succeed and move our per capita income to higher levels for our people, we must position our local markets globally. As decision makers we must have a clear understanding of what this world looks like, target those markets, and plan for the future purchasing potential and demand of the Millennial Generation and prepare our youth to take advantage. In the same way that Jamaican Tech Entrepreneur Kenia Mattis, Co-Founder of ListenMeLtd., positioned herself, and was selected as one of three finalists from over 10,000 applicants, by the US State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit last week. Today’s world is rooted in technology, with an economic axis that has shifted to the East, and driven by the Millennials: persons between the ages of 16 to 36 years old i.e. 1.7 billion people worldwide. Currently there are roughly 80 million of them in the United States alone, and they spend US$600 billion every year. In less than ten years three out of every four workers or 75% globally will be a Millennial. By 2018 Millennials will have the most spending power of any generation in our history, expecting to spend close to US$3.39 trillion. Where are we positioned to take advantage of these markets? Our mission is to ensure that we prepare ourselves to take full advantage as global producers rather than consumers marginalized by a world without boundaries. Mobile commerce will be a massive contributing factor as 41% of this generation make purchases using their smart phones/online, and 48% of them say that social media influences their product purchases more than television advertisements. 6
  6. The Universal Access Fund has been doing a good job in providing tablets to schools and this is an excellent start. They also provide free Wi-Fi to most of the 250 locations where CAP sites are located. But lets move further. We need to provide free Wi-Fi at every single school across the country, at every transport centre, at every public market, at the airports, at every police station and post office, in every community with community hot spots and parks. In otherwords, let’s give our people the tools so that they are not left behind. Jamaica needs to become one big Hot Spot. So that we can give aspiring Kenia Mattis innovators across the country, access to free data plans any where in this country for them to do business. The child of a farmer who has graduated from University with a degree in marketing, can add significant value to the agricultural industry by connecting her father with markets previously unavailable. From “farm to table” is a concept that is trending across the world and even here in Jamaica. With an exchange rate of JA$126 to US$1, agriculture is now the industry with the best competitive advantage against imports. Millennials are health conscious individuals, fitness, wellness and nutrition are big on their agenda i.e organic chicken (yard fowl), organic beef (grass feed cows), and chemical free vegetables . There are a lot of niches and export markets for these products which have a very high value added. We have over 200,000 people employed in agriculture, but not enough young people involved taking it into a new direction, using technology to create better linkages with local and overseas markets. And yes Mr. Speaker, we must encourage our youth to get involved in direct farming for succession planning. We have the world’s best coffee, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper and cocoa (chocolate). So let 7
  7. us give them priority access to land at concessionary terms, and start up business plans that give them the right head start. We must retain our skilled youth in Jamaica. We are losing too many of our best and brightest to overseas opportunities. We have to come up incentives to keep them focused on building Jamaica. One such approach is to have the National Housing Trust build rental units specifically for our tertiary graduates. These rental units would be available only to our young people between the ages of 20 to 30. During which time the rental rate would be 25% of their salary single or combined whatever that salary happens to be. So that young people would be assured that whenever they leave University, they can find a place which is of a quality standard to provide the stability to build out their lives, at a price they can afford. As the asset remains with the Housing Trust the rental cost would still be contributing positively to their bottom line, while giving our young people an opportunity they truly deserve. Mr. Speaker we must double down on the BPO industry, we must become a leader in this industry and strive to be in the top five in the world. We have to stop looking at our business ventures only in a local context, and instead look at them within the global context. We should not be short sighted in trying to attract a 1000 seat operator. We should be looking long term to position the country for opportunities in the Global market place. This industry as it has been said before, requires the least amount of financial capital to create a long term foreign exchange earning source, that can provide meaningful employment for our young people. Mr. Speaker we did a lot of work with culture and developed a Framework for Creative Economy Development in the long term, to create an enabling environment for our youth in culture to pursue wealth creation. We held several consultations and meetings with the creative sub-sectors, the financial sector and other stakeholders. The consultations also served to gather the latest data to justify the policy direction.     8
  8. We had a World Bank funded Business Plan, completed through the PIOJ, JAMPRO and the National Cultural and Creative Industries Commission.   It spoke to a short to medium term programme of focusing on festivals and events.  This would allow for cross-cutting, interdisciplinary participation of our practitioners in specific programmes.  Simply put, performers, designers, artists, technicians and business people in the creative economy, across disciplines would get economic opportunities though festivals and events. Additionally, the direction was an opportunity to take full advantage of the UNESCO special designations of the Blue and John Crow Mountains and Kingston as Creative Music City last year, many of which we see rolling out now. The Creative Economy is a key to the economic transformation of the Jamaican economy.  Of equal importance, much of the soft power required to transform the thinking of the nation positively resides within the creative economy.   The role of culture, creativity and innovation in development is well understood by Ambassador Plenipotentiary Nigel Clarke.  Ambassador Clarke has for many years, empowered children of Kingston’s inner cities in his role as co-founder of Jamaica’s National Youth Orchestra.  He has seen the growth of young people who had little confidence and perhaps less hope of success find a passion, learn new skills and express latent talents that have allowed some the opportunity to play amongst the worlds finest musicians  - string for string, key for key, note for note, bar for bar. We must give more resources to the JCDC’s Festival movement, the various sporting movements, the Edna Manley College, Sister Ignatius and Sparrow Martin’s work with the Alpha Boys Band, the Herbert Morrison Movement in the West, The Area Youth Foundation, the UWI Community Film Project, the CARIMENSA Dream-A-World Program and a myriad of other legendary institutions and programmes, so that we can continue to seek out youth, and train them to pursue careers in the creative economy. Finally Mr. Speaker we need to teach or youth to take a world view, not to have a Jamaican or CARICOM only limited vision. In positioning Jamaica for growth we must recognize that although we are next door to the United 9
  9. States, the world largest market, it is the young man in China that is planning to ship things to the United States rather than ourselves, that we need to be cognizant of as the competition. We need to broaden our horizons outside of CARICOM - go after population rich countries of Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic – some with less than a day’s sailing, instead of worrying about Trinidad. To improve our economic future we need to realize that English Speaking Trinidad is not more important than Spanish speaking Cuba or French speaking Haiti. Our youth need to know this, and that learning a second language is a must. 10
  10. ACCOUNTABILITY Mr. Speaker you judge a country by the way it treats its Children. Over the years, we have been positioning ourselves to be heard at the UNICEF table in a progressive and positive way since the Armadale Tragedy in 2009, and compounding the issues even further, was the suicidal death of young Vanessa Wint at the Horizon Correctional Centre in 2012, when I just became Minister. When I visited the Horizon Correctional Facility immediately after the tragedy, I realized that while correctional facilities were not in my immediate purview, it was clear that an aggressive approach was needed to stem the tide of the breaches that were taking place within our laws, namely the Child Care and Protection Act, as well as the international conventions that we had signed, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr. Speaker I put in place, and Chaired an Inter- Ministerial Committee for Children in 2013 which involved all relevant Ministries, The Office of the Children’s Advocate and State Agencies that worked with Children; so that rather than working in silos, there was more of a team approach with clear priorities within the Ministry of Youth, Justice, National Security, Education and Health. This approach yielded great results and saw the separation of children from Adult Correctional Facilities as well as police lock ups, the introduction of the Arts For Life Programme at the South Camp Facility for Girls, the allocation of increased resources to help find missing children under the Ananda Alert System, a 50% reduction in violence in schools under the Safe Schools Programme, more children being removed from state care to family environments, the removal of children being locked up for uncontrollable behaviour, the introduction of the Restorative Justice Programme, the introduction of the Smiles Mobile Unit to help children with counseling, additional resources to build child friendly spaces at police stations across the country, the introduction of the Children’s Advisory Panel and the implementation of the Keating Report just to name a few. 11
  11. Mr. Speaker when I had the privilege to lead Jamaica’s delegation to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, in January last year to table Jamaica’s report, for the first time since 2011, we were not on our back foot. We were able to present solid strides that were made, especially with finding solutions to persistent problems that resounded globally throughout the walls of the UN, in particular the way we treated and violated our children’s rights in lockups and correctional facilities. So today Jamaica can feel proud about moving up by 52 places to be ranked 51 out of 163 countries globally in the most recent UNICEF KidsRights Index, demonstrating that today Jamaican Children are reportedly enjoying better protection of their rights, than those living in more developed countries including Canada, Italy Luxemburg, Greece, and China; and regional states such as Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. 12
  12. RESPONSIBILITY But we have a larger issue. Quite recently I was able to implore the US Embassy to bring down Jamaican born internationally acclaimed Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness in California. Her research looks at how “to revolutionize pediatric medicine and transform the way society responds to children exposed to significant adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress.” She has concluded that early adversity harms the developing brains and bodies of children, and if not addressed, will adversely affect their health once they become adults, and have devastating results on our public health care system and society at large. Diabetes and Cancer are two such manifestations.   Other studies by our own Dr. Maureen Samms Vaughan, Lowe and Gibson and Dr. Leiba to name a few, looks at depression in adolescents.   I have not only studied, but witnessed firsthand how abuse of our children, and the impact of violence in their homes and communities, affected their emotional wellbeing. Many of our children are suffering in silence, and would share with me their depression, their harmful lifestyle choices and their thoughts of suicide.   Mr. Speaker our goal as leaders must be to improve the lives of all Jamaican children, no matter which Party is in power. Their best interests must supersede tribal politics and partisan approaches, that only seek to impede the development of their best potential to move Jamaica forward. I want to urge the current administration to adopt this approach, and keep the Inter-Ministerial Committee that is currently in place, so that all entities can sit at the same table.   But I want to go further, because to win this battle, major collaborative efforts will be required. I am using this opportunity to call for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to specifically look at the Impact of 13
  13. Toxic Stress and Violence on our nation’s children. The number of murder suicides in this country come from deep unaddressed issues over time. Our child guidance clinics are under staffed and under funded. In my discussions with Dr. Burke Harris, the US Embassy and other stakeholders, they have all indicated that they are prepared help in this area. Further, JSIF had committed JA$60 million to assist with building a facility to help children with counseling. Minister, please continue where I left off and let’s do this one together.    I also call on the Government to enact the legislation that was developed by our administration on the instructions of the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, outlining harsher penalties for child abusers, molesters, rapists and those who know and don’t report it.   But the truth is Mr. Speaker even with all of this, until some of the “big man dem” and as my Leader would say, Long tone Grey Back man dem stop trouble other people pickney, we will always be confronted will issues of abuse in this country.   I was tired, frustrated and devastated as Minister when every single day I was confronted with reports of death, rape, neglect, brutal beatings of children, fathers having sex with their daughters and having the sisters watch, taxi men raping little boys, pastors, police, politician, teachers all professions came in the reports.   Mr. Speaker, our children demand so much more of us. But we must admit and talk up di tings. It is only when we champion their cause in a space such as this, that those who have suffered in silence for years can confront their pain, and not see it as shame.   It will begin a road to healing for this country and break the cycle of generational abuse which is a real and present danger.   Children must be allowed to be children, give them the space to have a childhood and protect them.   They are not there to be “pimped” or hustled Mr. Speaker. 14
  14. SOLIDARITY Mr. Speaker I got a seat at the highest decision making table of this country. Inspite of everything: tight fiscal space, new kid on the block, the cussing, regional management duties, constituency duties among other things, I was fortunate to be a part of a team that piloted legislation and policy initiatives aimed at protecting children, specifically those who have been in conflict with the law – ensured that children were no longer held in detention with adults; ensured that all youth initiatives included those marginalised as a result of their socio economic reality, and their mental and social abilities; led the engagement of Jamaicans at home and overseas in a memorable and highly successful celebration of Jamaica’s 50th  Anniversary of Independence; spearheaded the successful lobby for Jamaica’s first ever election to the important World Heritage Committee of UNESCO leading to coveted inscription of Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains as an official World Heritage Site just to name a few. Mr. Speaker whether in Government, or in Opposition I am, and will always be committed to the same thing: improving people’s lives. May God bless us all as we continue on our mission. Thank you. 15