Finance minister says he will review tax measures

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Minister of Finance Peter Phillips, while addressing a meeting with a number of trade union leaders Thursday morning, indicated that he will be "conducting a review of the announced revenue measures and will shortly announce if any adjustments will be made". A release from the ... Read more

Columns

Killing Opportunity in Jamaica

Sunday, September 30, 2012    

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THERE is little doubt among many Jamaicans that the social fabric of this country has long been ripped apart.

The heinuous murders, the tragedy of the gang rapes and the increasing undisciplined behaviour are all making paradise into hell.

One troubling criminal activity that is now on steroids is praedial larceny. A reader tells me about his attempts at agriculture and how he and others had to exit the field.

“Good article today. You have analysed the situation very well about why Jamaica is where it is.

That said, there is plenty of opportunity in Jamaica and there are many acres of land sitting idle that can be put to use. The problem is that the framework to protect the investor is not there and people with money don't invest unless the framework is there.

I was involved in planting sorghum on several thousand acres with a large Jamaican company. This was land that was not prime sugar [lands] but just below. The tests gave us about three tons per acre and we planted more. But then, all of a sudden, people put their animals into our crops and there was no way to control it.

The police did not even want to get involved. The guy who was in charge was out there with his little gun trying to move the animals but it was futile. He nearly got killed and the people at the big company at the time decided that that was the end of trying to grow sorghum to substitute for imported corn.

'I can tell you about the mango farmer who put in 200 acres of mangos for export. When his crop came, it was, well, ‘man haffi eat’. The police, the whole community took this position because he was what they called a “big man”. The truth is he is not what one would call a rich man in the rest of the world. He just could not get justice — like, 50 people were being caught each week in his mango walk, but it was taking about a year to try them and by that time the evidence had rotted away and the whole court was laughing about the matter.

He eventually bulldozed the mango orchard.”

Where there is no leadership, the nation heads towards chaos.

observemark@gmail.com

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