Madam Speaker, as we recover faster, stronger and better our linkages network has proven to be a successful model. However, there is so much more that we can do to ensure that more Jamaicans benefit from our industry and that tourism earning retention is increased from 40 per cent to 45 per cent by 2025. Our robust plans will focus on a complete revamping of our linkages network to accomplish this goal. We will:
- Implement projects that increase the commercial linkages between tourism and non-tourism enterprises
- Implement projects that increase the contribution to GDP from non-accommodation tourism sub-sectors
- Infuse more tourism spend directly into the local economy
- Establish Jamaica as a regional hub for tourism supplies and services
Madam Speaker, whilst I empathize with everyone including the tourism sector that have suffered terribly from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the players in the sector, have slowly but surely been returning to work. I am happy to restate that local players in the entertainment sector have earned some J$500 million for the provision of services to hotels over the first five months of this year.
So, Jamaican musicians, Jamaican artistes, Jamaican singers, Jamaican bands, and so on are a major part of this. This is linkages at work, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker, before closing, in my capacity as Leader of Government Business, I would like to provide the House with a brief update on a few parliamentary reforms.
Firstly, we are awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to contract a consultant to undertake a year-long review of the human resource capabilities required for the Parliament.
The review will enable us to justify reclassification of current positions, creation of additional positions and for the attraction and retention of other hardworking, capable and qualified individuals. In the interim, exploring solutions such as contracted consultancies to boost capacity in some areas, e.g., the Committee Division.
Madam Speaker, the Parliament in partnership with the Cabinet Office and e-Gov Jamaica is also working on the formulation and implementation of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development plan for the Houses of Parliament in order to improve efficiency in all the operations of the Parliament.
Additionally, the Parliament is in the process of acquiring Speech to Text Technology for real-time reporting of the proceedings of both Houses and their Committees. The Parliament is also in the process of securing approval from the Public Procurement Commission.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I am pleased to report again, as highlighted by the Prime Minister in his budget presentation, that detailed designs and drawings for the new Parliament are complete and building approvals have been granted by the various authorities. The project is now going through the public investment process. Thereafter, we expect to enter the procurement phase after which construction is projected to start early in the 2022/23 Financial Year.
Madam Speaker, to conclude my presentation his afternoon, I affirm that the future of tourism in Jamaica is looking bright, despite the challenges we continue to face because of COVID-19. As you have heard, our vision speaks to strategic initiatives and partnerships that will diversify our product, build human capital and expand linkages with other sectors, target new markets and drive a more collaborative approach to our tourism sector, while ensuring that the growing tourism industry benefits all Jamaicans.
And as I close, I have to give commendation to what is without a doubt a government that functions with a zeal and laser like focus on problem solving whilst not allowing ourselves to be distracted in our efforts to implement and achieve our manifesto commitments under the leadership of our Prime Minister, the Most Honorable Andrew Holness.
As we recover faster, stronger and better we will therefore continue to push forward with a spirit of hope for a brighter future, which is prosperous for every Jamaican.
Thank you, stay safe and God bless you.