BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large Western Bureau email@example.com
MARTHA BRAE, Trelawny — General secretary of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) Peter Bunting says a delegation from the International Monetary (IMF) is expected to arrive in the island within the next three weeks to conclude the final round of negotiations with Government representatives.
"When that teams comes down, within the next two to three weeks, that will be the last meeting between our team and their delegation before an agreement is inked," Bunting told a press briefing following a meeting of the PNP's National Executive Council (NEC) at William Knibb High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny, yesterday.
Jamaica has been without an IMF agreement for almost 20 months, and the finance minister, Dr Peter Phillips, has not realised his wish to ink a deal with the fund by the end of last December.
An IMF deal is necessary to shore up Jamaica's balance of payments position and provide access to other multilateral sources of funds that usually take their cue from the fund's vaunted seal of approval.
Bunting told reporters that Phillips, in his address to delegates at the closed-door meeting yesterday, pointed out that with the broad parameters which the IMF already agreed on, "they (IMF team) will only be coming to finalise the details".
"So when they come it will be the last mission, and we can expect a letter of intent thereafter," said Bunting.
Yesterday as well, PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill said the finance minister, in his address, warned that it cannot "be business as usual" because of the size of the country's debt.
He added that the delegates, who were fully briefed by the finance minister about "the seriousness of the task ahead", gave their commitment to be a part of the solution.
The well-attended NEC meeting was also addressed by PNP President Portia Simpson Miller.