Kingston, Jamaica: Thursday, January 21, 2021
The Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, wishes to assure the public that there is no cut in the expenditure on education in the Third Supplementary Estimates.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) is procuring $1.8 billion of laptops for PATH students. The MOEYI has engaged the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) to purchase these laptops. This is a practical arrangement, undertaken with the aim of speed and efficiency, as the MSET has the experience and the relationships with suppliers to undertake this activity at scale and on relatively short notice.
To implement this plan the MOEYI is transferring approximately $1.8 billion to the MSET to acquire the laptops for MOEYI’s PATH students. This does NOT, by any means, represent a cut to the spend on education.
The statement by the President of the JTA, Mr Jasford Gabriel, issued today Thursday January 20, is based on an incorrect headline and a misleading story in the Jamaica Gleaner on Wednesday January 2021 which has since been updated online by the Gleaner. The Gleaner has also published a clarification in Thursday’s publication. Nevertheless, this afternoon I took the opportunity to call Mr. Gabriel personally to convey the facts and to reassure him.
I want to use this opportunity to sincerely encourage the media to make every effort to report accurately, particularly on matters to do with finance, the budget and the economy. Failure to do so undermines the body politic, increases cynicism in our society and makes us all worse off. Reporting on the budget cannot be rushed. It requires an examination of the figures in the tabled documents as well as a review of the accompanying notes, which are an integral part of the Supplementary Estimates.