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LETTER OF THE DAY: Importance of consultation and collaboration

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

The Debt Exchange Programme announced by the Government is being hailed by most financial analysts as one of the most significant and far-reaching financial initiatives taken by the Government of Jamaica in recent times. It is argued that the Debt Exchange Programme is an important precondition of signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The programme is expected to save the country $40 billion a year in interest costs, while facilitating the release of over US$2.4 billion to Jamaica over the 27 months from multilateral institutions. Even more important, this debt exchange programme forms part of a wider policy of stimulating investment and production in the country by reducing interest rates to single digit.

The prime minister, the finance minister and his technical team and the principals of the financial sector must be commended for this initiative. The emergence of this significant initiative underscores the importance of consultation and collaboration. We should not forget that the Government had initially rejected the idea when it was first mooted by Keith Duncan, Donovan Perkins and Ralston Hyman, et al. Nevertheless, the Government and the financial sector players were able to meet, discuss, and fashion a brilliant initiative.

consultation, collaboration

Make no mistake, the debt-management programme by itself will not solve the fundamental problems of Jamaica, but it underscored the point that we can solve our problems if we consult and collaborate with each other. A significant part of Jamaica's problem is in the area of the social and the moral. The Government must lead a process in which all the major national stakeholders, including the Opposition, the unions and civic organisations come together to develop a national consensus and national action plans.

At the community level, religious leaders, school principals, community-based organisations, political representatives, the police and all other stakeholders must unite in developing strategies and programmes for community development and transformation. Consultation and collaboration must be the way forward. United we stand, divided we fall.

I am, etc.,

ORVILLE PLUMMER

oaplummer@yahoo.com