Prime minister on point
World Bank President Ajay Banga (left), Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, and Inter-American Development Bank President Ilan Goldfajn flanked by security personnel at Jamaica House.

Dear Editor,

That discussion between Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness and World Bank President Ajay Banga, which took place at the Office of the Prime Minister, can best be described as a reality check.

Prime Minister Holness held nothing back. His bowling to the world bank president had pace — it was fast and furious. So intimidating was the bowling that the name Michael Manley, the late, former prime minister of Jamaica — that is, his first coming — could have easily been substituted in Gleaner reporter Kimone Francis's article 'Int'l partners helping to lift J'cans out of poverty – PM' for Prime Minister Andrew Holness without eyebrows being raised.

The points highlighted by Prime Minister Holness were quite pertinent as I am of the view that the emphasis on gross domestic product ratio by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is more geopolitical than in line with good financial accounting principles. It is, in fact, a deterrent to any meaningful growth in a developing country. Let's face it, how is a country to grow without sizeable investment in its infrastructure.

President Banga appeared unfazed by the pace and accuracy of Prime Minister Holness's deliveries and was quite circumspect. He gave away nothing in negotiating those searching balls. He showed the mettle of which he is made.

Prime Minister Holness said, "...[N]o matter what we do over the next few years, there is not enough money in the multilateral banking system, in the generosity of governments, or in the generosity of philanthropists to take out the level of challenges that we all face in our individual spaces".

What has surfaced in the sparring between these two eloquent men is the inadequateness of the policies of the international monetary system to provide for developing countries like Jamaica.

To think that Jamaica has been under the umbrella of the IMF since 1978, and since that time the Jamaican dollar has been devalued drastically, primarily due to the dictates of IMF policies.

Poverty of the masses is still a major concern in Jamaica, that speaks volumes about the economic model we have pursued.

Our Education Minister Fayval Williams once made the statement, to much resentment from our educators, that our teachers are not producing brilliant, intellectual students, but therein lies our problem.

Dalgalish Henry Sr

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