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PNP blames IMF reform for its poor ratings by Jamaicans

Published:Sunday | October 5, 2014 | 5:39 PM
PNP president and prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller at a party conference.

The ruling People's National Party (PNP) has acknowledged that the measures and policies it has had to pursue under the current economic reform programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have affected many Jamaicans negatively, hence the plunge in ratings.

The PNP was responding to the latest Bill Johnson poll published in today's edition of The Sunday Gleaner which revealed that a significant number of Jamaicans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction and that Opposition leader Andrew Holness would manage the country better than Portia Simpson Miller.

The polls show that the PNP president and prime minister's popularity has suffered significantly, with only 26 per cent of Jamaicans believing that she is the best person to lead the country at this time, compared with 46 per cent who believe Holness would do a better job.

The survey, conducted on September 6 and 7, showed that 28 per cent of Jamaicans were undecided.

The numbers represent a 13 percentage-point plunge for Simpson Miller who stood at 39 per cent on the eve of the December 2011 general elections, and only a marginal gain for Holness who polled 42 per cent at the time. The number of undecided Jamaicans has also grown by nine per cent when compared to the December 2011 poll, when 19 per cent of people did not express favour for either leader.

The PNP said the successes under the economic reform programme have come at significant costs to Jamaicans. It says many households continue to experience hardship, but noted that the Government had widened the numbers under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH); increased pension payments under the National Insurance Scheme and other social security benefits to assist the country's most vulnerable.

The ruling party said it was not unmindful of the negative impact of the economic challenges, nor is it dismissing public opinion. However, it is optimistic Jamaicans will have a more positive outlook for the country not long from now.


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