Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says no country can progress and prosper without a proper balance between its economic growth and the social advancement of its people.
The Prime Minister said this is the most significant governance lesson she has learnt in her extensive years of public service.
“I am committed to the governance principle of ‘balancing the books while balancing people’s lives’,” Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasized, as she addressed the 2014 graduating class of Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, in the United States, on May 24.
The Prime pointed out that this understanding had been overlooked in many developed economies around the world, “but no more.”
Mrs. Simpson Miller further noted that worsening income inequality and disparity was a catalytic factor in the 2010 recession and persists within countries and between countries, adding that this continues to threaten and undermine democracy, the rule of law, human security, as well as social and economic stability on both national and global levels.
She encouraged the graduates to join global efforts to make the world more progressive, just, equitable and positive.
The Prime Minister said that while the challenges are many, the greatest in her opinion is how to work together to achieve sustainable poverty reduction and shared economic prosperity, locally and globally.
She told the graduates that this is their moment to be good stewards of the shared global space.
Mrs. Simpson Miller, who received the Hon. Doctor of Public Service degree, was one of four distinguished leaders to receive honorary doctorates from Lafayette College this year. The others were Harry L. Ettlinger, a member of the ‘Monuments Men’ of World War II (Doctor of Humanities); Kevin Mandia, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of FireEye (Doctor of Public Service); and Roger Ross Williams, Academy Award-winning producer and Director of documentary films (Doctor of Arts).
The Prime Minister was honoured for “working tirelessly to improve your homeland by making it a better home and land.”
“As Cabinet Minister and Prime Minister, you have championed the rights of women, minorities and impoverished people. You have helped working mothers by expanding childcare centres. You have helped the economy by developing a sustainable tourism programme. You have helped everyone by strengthening the National Insurance Scheme. This month you signed an $11.5 billion agreement for the European Union to fund six Jamaican programmes, including ones aimed at decreasing poverty and increasing foreign economic partnerships,” the Citation read.
A beaming Mrs. Simpson Miller proudly embraced her membership in the Lafayette family, expressing her delight to be a part of a progressive institution that understands local and global responsibility.
She also commended the institution for establishing the Lafayette-Jamaica Scholarship programme, which will see awardees receiving a scholarship that meets their full financial needs for four years. In addition, a US$4,000 stipend will be awarded that may be applied toward a Lafayette study abroad experience.
By Andrea Braham