Towards Ja's strong economyMonday, March 29, 2021
BY Donald G Morgan
Jamaica needs a strong economy in order to maintain and sustain full independence and be recognised in the international community of independent nations.
In recent years, the Government has applied to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for economic development loans. The loans are usually supervised by IMF officials with a fixed date to achieve the desired outcome. To what extent does the Jamaican economy benefit from these loans? It is sometimes hard to tell. For, in the end, the Jamaican economy is left with growing debt. In order to grow and sustain the Jamaican economy all sectors of the economy must be involved.
Another source to which the Government looks to for help in difficult economic times is the private sector, which comprises a group of traditional businessmen with not much innovative skills to improve Jamaica's struggling economy. It is time for the Government to invite and engage all sectors of the economy, and all Jamaicans at home and throughout the Diaspora to invest in the economic development of the country.
I continue to appeal to my compatriots in Jamaica and in the Diaspora to strengthen our independence by investing in Jamaica, our homeland. Investing in the economy is a patriotic duty of every Jamaican predicated on not what you can get out of Jamaica, but what you can do for Jamaica that will serve present and future generations.
To those of us who are in the Diaspora, permit me to say it doesn't matter how long we stay, we will always be foreign immigrants in a foreign land. So whatever we may accumulate in material wealth or knowledge, do not forget to invest in your homeland as well for “a Jamaica wi come from”.
Investment can be in different forms, such as contributing to areas of education, health care, banking, communication, transport, tourism, business institutions, vocational and community outreach programmes, agricultural development, charities and foundations, volunteering your time and expertise, and the list goes on.
There is a moral complement to every monetary or material investment that is made into the economy. It is that the investor must have confidence in the Government that there will be regulated norms that will encourage, protect, and strengthen the investment, as well as the investor.
Jamaica cannot build a strong economy by looking the other way whenever there is clear evidence of corruption in the Government and in the economic community. It was with much embarrassment that I recently witnessed a television documentary by a foreign journalist in Jamaica describing the alarming scamming and criminal activities in the tourism capital of Montego Bay.
Tourism is the strongest and most important investment in Jamaica's economy. The Government must take a more active role in rigidly enforcing laws. It is difficult to encourage investment in Jamaica when such evidence of crime and corruption are displayed on international television.
The Caribbean is faced with two competing powers who are interested in investment there, namely the United States and China. It is no secret that China has a growing interest in the region, Jamaica in particular. Unfortunately its interest may not only be to invest in Jamaica, but rather to control and suppress democratic political ideologies and social norms. No investment in land or technological industries should be permitted.
Jamaica has a long-standing and good relationship with the United States, which should be credited for the strength of tourism due to the fact that most of the visitors that come to Jamaica are from there. As such, there should be greater effort to encourage American investment in other areas of the economy.
Professor Donald G Morgan writes from Washington, DC, USA. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or Donrubi@verizon.net.
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