NEW YORK, USA — An early agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being viewed as Jamaica's most pressing need among Jamaican nationals here.
Greater efforts aimed at reducing the island's unemployment rate and a further reduction in crime, especially the murder rate, have also emerged as areas that Jamaicans here expect improvements this year.
Desmond Clarke, who heads the Jamaica National Movement, reiterates that an IMF agreement would help stabilise the Jamaican currency and lead to the inflow of much-needed funds from other lending agencies.
However, he argued that while the protracted delay in reaching an agreement is agonising, it is better if a "good agreement" is reached rather than one that is done hastily that would have far more negative effects on his countrymen.
Similar views have been expressed by Patrick Callum, who heads G2K New York — a group of young professionals affiliated with the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party.
While expressing hope that there will be a resolution to the IMF talks soon, Irwin Clare, who heads the Diaspora Board for the North East United States, believes that there are other areas of development that could be pursued if no deal is reached.
He said he would like to see the development of a serious partnership between the Jamaican Government, civil society, and private sector interests.
"It cannot be that we think that an IMF agreement, important as it is, will be the total solution to our problems," Clare declared.
He also believes that serious thought should be given to the idea of a Diaspora Bond as a means of raising much-needed foreign exchange and advocated a more serious approach to agriculture development.
Commenting on his aspirations for his homeland for 2013, Roy Davidson — who heads the National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO) — feels that efforts should be placed on "a total transformation of how national development is pursued".
Like Clare, Davidson wants to see "more co-operation and a different mindset in securing a better future utilising all our influence and resources to achieve our goals".
He, too, expressed hope for a quick IMF deal in the new year, as well as greater efforts to form public/private sector partnerships aimed at attracting investments and the opening up of economic opportunities that would lead to reductions in crime and the unemployment rate.
The NAJASO represents 120 different groups in the US.