Is it empty talk on growth from Clarke?

Monday, February 11, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Dr Nigel Clarke, the minister of finance and the public service, said that our country is moving in the right direction under the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government. He boasted about how Jamaica has been upgraded by the International Credit Rating agencies and that the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) is below 100 per cent for the first in 20 years. He added that Jamaica has recorded the longest-consecutive periods of economic growth, that employment is at an all-time high, and that Jamaica has a record of over US$6 billion in between the central bank and other financial institutions, so there is no shortage of US dollars, so people are now open to borrow at lower interest rates.

Now after hearing all that wonderful news, the following are questions flowing through my thinking:

1. If the economy had so many consecutive periods of growth, why have salaries shown absolutely no signs of increase while the business moguls' income and profits have increased exponentially?

2. If Jamaica has had all that record economic growth should it not follow that the Jamaican currency would sharply strengthen?

3. What real significant benefits do Jamaicans have to cling to?

4. Why should the average Jamaican with a brain begin to believe the wonderful economic data advertised by the finance minister when not even a word has been mentioned about enacting laws to force an increase in the current pathetic minimum wage in order to align the workers' economy (their bank accounts and pockets) with the excellent economic variables that produced 14 consecutive quarters of economic growth?

5. Regarding the all-time high in employment that Clarke boasted about, what type of employment are these? Will they align workers with the wonderful economic growth?

6. Is there any real difference in what Clarke says in comparison with the customary boasting of economic growth by successive Governments with the average citizen having nothing to show for it?

Seems they all take Jamaicans for fools.

I will now be patiently awaiting the answers to my questions if there is anyone brave enough to take them on.

Garth “Sub-Zero” Allen

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