Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Letter of the day: Mr Holness has much more to tell us

Published:Monday | February 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, has laid out his 10-point plan for "prosperity", and I have a few questions for him:

1 How is it that at the end of the JLP's term in office in 2011, you promised "bitter medicine", and now during the PNP's term in office, only four years later, you are promising "prosperity"?

2 One of your prosperity goals is the increasing of the income tax threshold from $592,800 to $1.5 million - an increase of 153 per cent. What are your strategies for accounting for the shortfall in revenue from tax this move will obviously cause?

3 You made no mention of GCT in your presentation. Is it your intention to account for the shortfall in taxes by increasing GCT and applying it once again to salt, ground provision and sanitary products?

4 What consultation did you have before proposing your 60-year mortgage plan? The average Jamaican would not be eligible to benefit from a mortgage before attaining 25 years, some when they are way older. How practical is it for persons to still be paying a mortgage 25 years after they retire when they are just about 90 years old (assuming they live that long) and living off a pension? Or will you also be proposing a change in the age of retirement to 90?

5 What is the timeline for the digitising of government records and business processes? What kind of resources would be needed for this to be done?

6 What role does our relationship with the IMF play in your plans? Will you be continuing the relationship? And if you will, will you commit to meeting the conditionalities and continue passing the tests? And if not, what is the alternative to the IMF and its conditionalities and tests?

7 What impact would the relationship with the IMF, or lack thereof, have on your plans?

8 What is the overall timeline for all your goals on an individual level?

In my opinion, your quantum leap from bitter medicine to prosperity after four years of the PNP's management of the economy is a sign of your endorsement of the PNP's policies.

We need to hear SMART goals - ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. So far, your 10-point plan has failed the SMART test. We don't need to be told what you think we want to hear. And we certainly don't need to have ridiculous promises implemented that only serve to put a strain on the economy and result in poor service delivery (such as the free health-care policy), just to prove that the promise made was kept.

We need leaders to stop taking us for fools, to stop hoodwinking and bamboozling us, and right now, from where I sit, you and your team are not convincing me that you aren't doing just that.

C.D.D. Dennis