A starting point for success
The Editor, Sir:
The prime minister made a fundamental point during the recent debate in Parliament over the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) bond offer. He said that the Jamaican economy has made respectable growth of five per cent and more on only three occasions in 37 years, 1988, 1989, 1990, while the Jamaican population has grown by 40 per cent. It is an acceptance of monumental failure and a starting point for monumental success.
Well, if this doesn't explain our predicament, I don't know what else will. We are sitting at the doorstep of still the richest economy in the world, and we have been unable to take full advantage of such an opportunity. Countries thousands of miles away, big and small, have become wealthy by exporting everything including toothbrush and toothpaste, recycled toilet paper, computer chips, pharmaceuticals etc., while we have been closing down factories.
Golding should have made his China and Middle East visits long ago, but better late than never. We have been exporting our brightest and best for too long, because they lack opportunity in this country. This must stop.
The basic problem is that our population growth has far out-paced our levels of economic development. Our leaders have made catastrophic mistakes and have put party ahead of country. China has built a new sugar factory in Guyana. That is investment, not some unused stadium. Golding needs to be careful of the type of investment he asks for. It goes without saying that what we need are more factories, investments in cheaper energy and more research and development. These are not new ideas but we continue to skirt around them, to the detriment of our country.
We will not be able to solve our problems by returning to Agro 21 or Spring Plains. With the greatest of respect to Edward Seaga, the world has changed way beyond those ideas, which may have been revolutionary in his time. Get the economy growing. It is an opportunity that we have to grasp - the same way a drowning man grasps at a straw.
I am, etc.,