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The Economist: Holness' 10-Point Plan would not get IMF support - Magazine labels JLP as populist

Published:Monday | February 22, 2016 | 2:00 AM

The Economist magazine has argued that the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) 10-Point Plan would "certainly mean forfeiting the IMF's support".

In an article released in the latest edition of the liberal-leaning magazine, the JLP was cast as a populist opposition and the People's National Party (PNP) as a government of austerity.

The title of the article, 'Let Them Eat Goat', appears to be a play on 'Let them eat cake'; a phrase commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution.

The statement highlights the queen's lack of regard for peasants. The use of goat, presumably, refers to the serving of curry goat, which has been a characteristic feature of elections in Jamaica.

The influential magazine, in giving its analysis of elections to be held this week, juxtaposed the conditions of austerity imposed by the Simpson Miller government with the 10-point economic plan proffered by Andrew Holness.

"His 10-Point Plan is generous: He would exempt from income tax three-quarters of those who pay it and promises 250,000 new jobs in a country where only 188,000 are unemployed. He plays to Jamaicans' homophobia: he wants a referendum to sustain the buggery laws," the article stated.

 

DEVOID OF IDEOLOGY

 

While labelling the JLP's election promises as populist, The Economist noted that the two major political parties are devoid of ideology and can both be described as pragmatic.

The JLP has historically been described as the pragmatic party because of its conservative, capitalist roots. The PNP, on the other hand, has been cast in liberalism and leftist social engineering.

Highlighting the economy and crime as key election issues, The Economist noted that "gang-linked gun crime continues unabated ... and that the economy is stagnant".

Turning its attention to the programme of economic reform with the International Monetary Fund, the Minton Beddoes-edited magazine insinuated that increasing austere conditions under the programme appear to have prompted the need for an early election.