To whom do we look guidance?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Dear Editor,

I am at a loss as to who is speaking the truth and whom we can believe concerning the status of the economy. Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw boldly told the nation that one of the reasons for scarcity of the US dollar is an upsurge in the black market trade. In response financial secretary, Dr Wesley Hughes, dismissed those claims, but failed to provide evidence of other reasons to account for why the occurrence of a shortfall.

In February 2012, rating agency Fitch said Jamaica might find it difficult to honour its debt obligations and labelled our seeming inability to pay as a structural weakness, which ultimately spells trouble to our creditors. Financial analyst Errol Gregory has also criticised the government of being on autopilot with the country.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has consistently given the country the impression that an IMF deal is possible by December, dismissing doubts of the Opposition's assertions that it was not possible even up to the latter part of October, but last week while tabling the white paper on tax reform he admitted that it was not likely to happen before next year.

The IMF has stated that Jamaica has the fourth-highest poverty rate at 43.1 per cent when compared to 23 neighbours, in contrast to the PIOJ's director general, Dr Gladstone Hutchinson's 19.7 per cent. The Opposition is claiming that the economy is in shambles while the chairman of the PNP Robert Pickersgill is decrying those claims.

In all this "he says, she says, and they say", whom are we to believe, who is speaking the truth in this state of confusion which is seemingly putting the country deeper and deeper into a tailspin of fear, who are the leaders of Jamaica, whom do we look to for reassurance? I would very much like to know.

Melvin Pennant




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