Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Constitutional change can turn around economy

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In his January 19, 2016, article 'Try DIY instead of IMF', Gordon Robinson made a very profound point that should be taken seriously at all levels of leadership in Jamaica.

Robinson made a timely statement as we continue to pass the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests. His idea, if implemented, will safeguard the sacrifices made by the Jamaican people in bearing the stringent and harsh conditions to establish macroeconomic stability.

Robinson said: "The IMF's sole purpose is to insist on and enhance responsible spending. Jamaica, why not do it yourself? Why not force yourself, by fundamental constitutional change, to act responsibly ... ?"

This is a very serious matter for this and future generations. From their actions and statements, the Government, Opposition, and leadership across the private-sector support:

- Reducing the public-sector deficit to a negotiated level with international lenders as the present ratio is far in excess of international standards (e.g., three per cent in Europe).

- Reducing public-sector debt ratio to GDP to about 70 per cent over time to allow for adjustment and public-sector investment to facilitate growth.

- Strict control on money supply, which means fewer loans to the public sector.

- Strict control of inflation, which would automatically flow from these measures.

There are obviously technical issues to be worked out, including provision to breach the Constitution in times of natural disaster and unexpected crises.

Unless Jamaica makes this fundamental and necessary constitutional change, politicians will always be tempted to breach the hard-fought battle that we have won in successfully undertaking and passing the IMF tests over an extended period.

PAUL CHEN-YOUNG