Mon | Nov 19, 2018

JLP must stop telling us it is desperate

Published:Friday | January 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I don't know if it is because the prime minister will soon announce the date for the next general election or if the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is really bankrupt of ideas, or if it is that it has been out of government for too long, but it would be a good idea if it stopped telling the world that it is desperate for power. Some of the party's suggestions are really silly.

Shadow Finance Minister Audley Shaw has suggested that the party is receptive to the idea of abolishing personal income tax and that the minimum wage should be set at US$5,000 per year. That party will say anything to get into power! On the face of it, those ideas would be welcomed by many. However, they are not practical.

Personal income tax accounts for a major part of the Government's revenues. In all of that party's talk about thinking about phasing out income tax, it has yet to suggest how the revenue shortfall would be made good. This is especially so, given that the Government is already desperately short of money. Does the party plan to increase other taxes?

Then the party is proposing that the national minimum wage be hiked. That would work out to $50,000 a month! How many employers will be in a position to pay that? What plans does the JLP have to absorb all of the current minimum wage earners who would be out of a job when their employers are put in the position of not being able to pay them - and have to let them go?

Of course, there would be the issue of inflation as their employers would need more money to pay the increased minimum wages. That would eventually put us back to where we are now.

The JLP must understand that we Jamaicans are not that gullible - especially these days. Like the party's plan to abolish school fees, these 'bright ideas' are telling us that the party is simply not ready for government! The JLP must understand that desperation is not attractive.