On behalf of the Opposition I congratulate the Jamaica Medical Foundation on its very satisfying 25 year history and its impressive achievements. I also commend the Foundation on this renewed and energised effort to move to new dimensions of initiatives and action to achieve bigger targets in fundraising and philanthropy.

Emerging from the Life Insurance Industry, this foundation is creating opportunities for busy business leaders and entrepreneurs, beyond the mainstream of their busy schedules, to exercise their empathy and goodwill through a trustworthy organisation in donating meaningfully to address critical needs of others directly, or through the strengthening of relevant institutions.

I endorse entirely the effort to embrace the Jamaican diaspora and recruit the goodwill and the expertise of our nationals and their offspring living abroad. The diaspora is rich with great achievers in business as well as in so many fields of skilled and professional endeavours, who are constantly exploring ways to give back to their country of birth and communities of origin. I am sure that they will seize this opportunity to use the framework of the JMF to give expression to their desire to contribute to their homeland.

The global economic crisis is not yet over and several geographical regions where we have partners in trade, economic and social cooperation, are struggling to emerge from this crisis with varied results. Great uncertainty still exists.

This will continue to have implications for our domestic situation, which is also affected by events beyond our shores and outside our spheres of influence. We are a nation with serious inequity and pockets of intractable poverty with disadvantaged people, especially children and adolescents, who are even more compromised in this crisis. While we anticipate and work towards investment, job creation and equitable growth with development, we have to acknowledge that currently, in the context of fiscal discipline and pro-cyclical policies, there is contraction with job losses and deterioration in disposable incomes. There is a need for safety nets and mechanisms for responsive interventions. We have to invest in promoting protecting and preserving our human capital.

Your Foundation contributes in a very significant way in conveying a sense of caring and encouragement, of security, and the assurances of goodwill from the fortunate to the less fortunate, expressing itself in selected targeted interventions which alleviate suffering, saves lives and strengthens services that are important to human capital development and preservation.

Your success in achieving 25 years and 5 million dollars of assistance to individuals and institutions with a capital base of 22 million dollars is a clear indication that the Jamaica Medical Foundation is a lasting institution. It is a platform and a great opportunity for bringing the private and public sectors together in a partnership for progress in social services. Against the background of the success of the training institutions in saturating Jamaica with specialised professional skills in medicine, nursing and supplementary services, small strategic steps can bring about giant leaps in closing gaps and building capacities to consolidate world standards in specialised areas as well as medical tourism.

I wish you great success in achieving your new goals.  

This foundation contributes to a sense of equity, dignity and peaceful sensitive coexistence. It is a good example of Corporate Social Responsibility which is a pillar of sustainable development.