Columns

Diaspora bond will do well

Thursday, September 06, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I was somewhat taken aback with a part of Mark Wignall's column of August 30, "Do Jamaicans here and abroad trust this government?" Regarding the diaspora bond, it seems that Wignall was either lazy or wished to take only parts of the story.

He wrote: "We have been informed that in the PNP administration's attempt to convince the hard-working Jamaicans in the diaspora (USA, Canada, Britain) that they should buy into a diaspora bond, necessary as pre-conditions for a new IMF agreement, it has been met, not with enthusiasm, but with more scepticism than expected.

"Some of those have mentioned that the experience of those who suffered under the PNP at the time of the financial meltdown in the mid-1990s (called Finsac times) have made them wary of buying into the bonds now being offered, seeing that the PNP administration in 2012 is basically the same old, rehashed team of that period."

"Some of those have mentioned that the experience of those who suffered under the PNP at the time of the financial meltdown in the mid-1990s (called Finsac times) have made them wary of buying into the bonds now being offered, seeing that the PNP administration in 2012 is basically the same old, rehashed team of that period."

If Wignall had done his research, he would have known some basic facts about the proposed diaspora bond:

* This was a major proposal at the diaspora conference in 2004 and was approved unanimously in 2008.

* A team comprising both Jamaicans in the diaspora and in Jamaica prepared a proposal, which the former government did not act upon because of their then commitment with the IMF.

* In January at the Diaspora Advisory Board meeting, I presented the proposal formally, gave copies to the Office of the Prime Minister and handed a copy to Minister Peter Phillips.

* The World Bank came on board and is the one leading the effort to get the diaspora's feedback.

Like everything else, Mr Wignall, there are sceptics.

I am confident that this will be overwhelmingly received in the diaspora. I do not know the reasons for your negative tone, but I think we as Jamaicans, especially those in the island, should be encouraging the diaspora to participate by purchasing when available. We have made recomendations to assure the bond holders' confidence in the instrument and that our hard-earned dollars are not squandered.

Patrick Beckford

New Jersey, USA

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