US dollar pricing in Jamaica undermines local currency — Terrelonge

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US dollar pricing in Jamaica undermines local currency — Terrelonge

Friday, July 31, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information Alando Terrelonge has decried what he says is an emerging and perhaps accepted common practice among businesses operating in Jamaica to quote and advertise prices in US dollars only.

Terrelonge, in a statement this morning addressing the decision by some faculties at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona to quote tuition fees in US dollars, called for the practice to discontinue, warning that it “lays the foundation to the slippery slope of complete erasure of the Jamaican currency”.

Students at the UWI earlier this week called on the institution to reconsider quoting tuition fees in US dollars for the faculties of engineering, film, law, medicine, and nursing.

“We cannot, as a nation, afford the cultural perception that our currency is irrelevant. Local businesses trade in Jamaican currency and have always made allowances for fluctuations in currency trading rates,” Terrelonge said.

He further stated: “UWI is supposed to be our hub of cultural consciousness and intellectual vigour. It is the site that has put out a lot of scholarship on imperialism, the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the impact of globalisation on developing economies, like ours, national identity, and personhood.

“To give a foreign currency primacy of place in its operations, is a privileging of economy over culture and identity – and that goes against the very heart of what they are supposed to be about. This practice of undermining our dollar amounts to a genesis of rooting out a very significant part of the defining characteristics of Jamaican identity – erasing what it means to be Jamaican in the economic and cultural sphere."


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