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JLP reaping what it did not sow, says PNP - Opposition party claims no results coming from growth ministry

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott

The Opposition has accused the Andrew Holness-led administration of "reaping what it did not sow" and has charged that the months-old administration cannot take credit for the levels of growth that are being recorded in the economy.

Government members were left basking in a flurry of good news delivered to Parliament by Finance Minister Audley Shaw in November when he reported that several sectors of the economy were recording impressive figures for the July-to-September quarter of this year.

Since then, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and financial analysts have all heaped praises on the Government for the stability and growth in the economy, painting a picture of the Holness administration fulfilling a campaign commitment to grow the economy.

But Mark Golding, a former justice minister in the previous administration headed by Portia Simpson Miller, is adamant the Government is riding on the momentum developed by the People's National Party (PNP) administration.

"They have inherited a platform which was built by several years of sacrifice by the Jamaican people and careful economic management of the People's National Party which turned the ship around and move all of our macroeconomic indicators in the right direction," Golding said, pointing out that, "credit to Holness' Jamaica Labour Party Government, they have been able to continue".

Golding said he could not point out any specifics that the JLP-administration has done to date that could directly influence growth in the economy.

Dr Peter Phillips, PNP presidential hopeful and former finance minister, is of a similar view.

Phillips has declared that all the investments and projects that have so far materialised this year were birthed under the PNP.

"It is not that thy have done anything spectacular since they took up office. All of what is happening is a continuation of what we had started in our administration and that is the truth," Phillips argued.

Golding has also poured cold water on the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, introduced by the current administration, arguing that it lacks the bureaucracy required of a government ministry.

The former justice minister contended that the ministry has not delivered the results that were being promised and said it has nothing to do with the recorded growth in the economy.

The ministry was established by the JLP when it booted the PNP from office in February with a proposed mandate of stimulating economic growth by, "ensuring investments are rapidly facilitated to avoid government obstacles and duplication or working-class".

But since its formation, sceptics have consistently argued that the operations of the ministry, headed by three ministers, were not entirely clear.

In an effort to address concerns surrounding the ministry, Dr Horace Chang - minister without portfolio in the ministry - had promised to furnish Parliament with an outline of the proposed operations of the ministry, but, to date, that promise has not been fulfilled.

"There seems to be some confusion from the numerous ministers in that ministry," said Golding, adding that he has not seen the details of the work of each minister.

For his part, Phillips said he can point to nothing specific that has happened in the ministry for him to form the opinion that the ministry is operating and delivering the results as was promised.