Fri | May 24, 2019

On the Corner with EPOC - income disparity worries returning resident

Published:Monday | May 21, 2018 | 11:12 PMErica Virtue
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer McKay
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Co-chairman of EPOC Keith Duncan (centre) having a reasoining with residents of Nannyville Gardens during the latest Gleaner on the Corner with EPOC.

Paula McKay, a Jamaican who spent more than 30 years in the United States before returning home, is disappointed by what she believes is the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in Jamaica.

McKay, one of several residents who participated in the latest Gleaner On the Corner with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) forum, said that the issue was one of grave concern to her, and must also concern the authorities.

"To me, it seems as if it has gotten worse than it was back then," said McKay. "I drive through communities of Norbrook, Barbican [that are] beautiful and gorgeous; and then I come to Rema and Nannyville, and there is huge disparity," she told EPOC co-chairman Keith Duncan, as she sought answers about how this could be addressed.

"The gap between the rich and the poor has been increasing over the years," agreed Duncan.

He argued that to address issues such as these. The country must get value for every dollar spent.

"We have to insist that we get value for the money, so we can put the economy back on track through getting the macro-economic fundamentals right, and reducing debt levels," said Duncan.

"We cannot afford that we spend the money, and we don't get the value, and then poverty increases. That's the conversation we need to have and that's why we are here," added Duncan.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cited income inequality as a major contributor to low economic growth.

The Global Income Inequality Report 2018 has also highlighted that income inequality has been increasing across the world during the last four decade.