Letters to the Editor

Let's get back to 'built by Labour'!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!


Dear Editor,

Columnist Dorlan Francis wrote an excellent column in Sunday Observer The Agenda magazine of November 5, 2017, titled 'Andrew Holness, it's time to earn Edward Seaga's mantle'.

It led me to the World Bank database, at which one can review Jamaica's economic growth measured in gross domestic product (GDP) over the years. It is interesting that over the last few decades we have struggled to reach the GDP levels even at the lowest point in the late 60s, early 70s when Seaga was minister of finance. Indeed, under Seaga's stewardship, as Francis pointed out, Jamaica experienced significant economic growth and development. In fact, much of the major infrastructure on the island began or was completed in the era 1967-72 when Seaga was finance minister, and again in the mid-80s when Seaga was elected prime minister and also served as minister of finance and planning.

Seaga also ensured significant strides were made in human resource and cultural development to complement growth. With economic development comes jobs and improvement in quality of life and standard of living, regardless of one's income.

I recall a memorable Jamaica Labour Party political TV advertisement that ran when I was a child. In it school after school was named, and Hugh Shearer (JLP) responded emphatically, “Built by Labour!”

I've often wondered why we have not seen any new high schools being built despite the significant growth in population and migratory patterns to major cities and the challenges the Grade Six Achievement Test places on our youngsters. What's more, high school spots are very limited, at least in traditional schools.

We struggle to understand why our crime rate has spiked when it is all linked to the current state of the economy; high unemployment, extreme poverty, and lack of opportunities which are all tied in to decades of stagnant growth in our economy, even decline in growth to negative levels.

Having reviewed the GDP growth chart depicting our economic growth since 1967, there are two major periods of significant positive growth: 1967-72, 1985-92. Both periods can be attributed to Edward Seaga (Michael Manley succeeded Seaga as prime minister in 1989, and P J Patterson took over from Manley in 1992- 2006).

Our policymakers and financial and economic planners must not ignore the past. Though times have changed, and we are directly influenced by global markets, there are many lessons we can study from the past which could perhaps help us to get back on track as a country.

In recent decades the major piece of development we have seen is the highways, built by the Chinese and the French. And, while this is certainly beneficial, we cannot ignore infrastructure and other forms of development which stimulate economic growth.

Thanks to the Jamaica Observer for sharing this very insightful column.

P Chin

chin_p@yahoo.com

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT