Letters to the Editor

Tired of mumbo jumbo on sliding J'can dollar

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Jamaicans must surely be sick and tired of the mumbo jumbo being offered by our 'experts' as to why the Jamaican dollar continues to slide.

Your excellent columnist Raulston Nembhard painted a graphic picture of the hardships being endured across the island by most Jamaicans in his piece 'The pains of a sliding dollar', published in the Jamaica Observer on August 8, 2018.

Now, along come Dr Karelle Samuda and Stephanie Abrahams, in their Sunday Observer piece 'The Jamaican dollar in perspective', on August 12, 2018, to offer us a cold comfort, 'nothing-to-be-worried', 'be happy' explanation from the folks who are supposed to know.

We are told that the recent movement downwards is nothing more than the usual fluctuations in a fixed exchange rate regime. Same story from the governor of the Bank of Jamaica, the talking heads of the International Monetary Fund, and the academic experts.

We are told, and it is clear, that the present Government has continued the pattern of the previous Government in terms of getting all the fundamentals right. Samuda and Abrahams acknowledge this. So the surgery was successful, but the patient is dying. Thanks for the information.

Who is buying any of this story ?

It's true that the currency moves up and down, a few cents here and there from day to day, week to week. But the plain truth for everyone to see is that the currency, ultimately, goes in only one direction — down! That has been the case for decades, regardless of the party in power, who is governor of the Bank of Jamaica, or who is finance minister.

So let's pose two questions and hold the feet of the experts to the fire:

1) Why has the Jamaican dollar continued to devalue over decades?

2) What can be done, right now, to reverse this downward slide?

Jamaicans need straight answers to these two critical questions. We need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

And if the experts, especially those from the International Monetary Fund, really don't know the answers — and I suspect they don't — say so.

Errol W A Townshend

Ontario, Canada


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