ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Do something about the weakening dollar Mr PM!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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The Editor,

Do something Mr prime minister!! You seem to lack care with regard to the fall nearly weekly of the Jamaican dollar. The Jamaican dollar is on a spiral downswing. Never in our history have Jamaica seen its currency depreciated so rapidly. Are we heading for the situation that was Spain in 1991/1992 or are we descending into the chaos that is currently haunting Turkey.

In the last two or three months Jamaicans have watched with alarm the Jamaica dollar value dropping by six dollars of its local value in one week. The dollar continues to slide and now it is at some $136, well at the Bank of Jamaica counter, the US dollar, the world's major currency was sold for $136.43. At this rate the Jamaican dollar trading against the US dollar will certainly be sold for $140 before Christmas.

While these figures of depreciation and some would ignorantly say “devaluation“ face us daily, the impact continues to reel havoc on families below the rich and upper middle class strata.. Yet the prime minister and his finance minister continue to give stupid response; responses that cannot tell how the poor and masses will survive under this plunge in value of the Jamaican dollar.

A day ago, the prime minister sheepishly tells his supporters that speculation is the reason for the dive. Speculation by whom Mr prime minister? The masses do not have the capacity or resources to buy dollars, hoard dollars, invest in US dollars and then push up the prices by speculating.

In my opinion and you do not need any Economist to tell you, the dollars' depreciation is manipulated by big business interest. Corruption is not just by politician as, in small Island states, these large capital owners and established business interest, some bending deeply on wealth from the colonial legacy, have in the past and currently manipulate the economy for supernormal profits and increased wealth potential.
Nothing is new under the sun. We only have to look at how some ethnicities in this country behaved when threatened by socialism. To draw on modern history, the day after a national election, Kingston Harbour, Black River, Ocho Rios , Buff Bay, Port Antonio, Negril , wherever there were water outlets or ports – large volumes of artificially short goods appeared floating in the seas and rivers. It is the same unpatriotic but now greedy and selfish desires that have created a depreciation of the local currency.

A depreciated dollar is affecting nearly everyone except the rich and upper middle class. All other classes, poor, working, lower middle class, middle middle class, peasantry and rural middle class are under pressure. Food, medicine, school fees, machinery, computers, dental fees, agricultural input and others have become more expensive and demands more from our savings, income and financial resources/ In a society with 90 per cent of raw materials imported a fall in the dollar can only make life more miserable.

Yet in spite of the known impacts, the prime minister has for weeks been silent until a day ago when he saw it politically expedient to speak to his die hearts, he came up with an implausible answer. No, No Mr Holness do better than that. Jamaicans await a better answer. We are not fools. Do not take us for granted. We are still awaiting the truth which has dogged his governance. Our beloved country deserves better. Do not let us fall into the Spanish or Italian currency crisis symptomatic of the early nineties. If the country fails to get an answer and if the local dollar continues its dive against the US dollar and should there be resultant increased inflation, we will be looking for a recipe of economic and social disaster.

Maurice Christie

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