LETTER OF THE DAY - T&T reaped more from independence than Jamaica

Published: Saturday | June 16, 2012 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

With the occasion of our nation's 50th anniversary fast approaching, it is easy for one to desert the land of the rational and in so doing get lost in the realm of complete celebration.

What, perhaps, should not be lost on us is that one of our Caribbean sisters in the southeast is, in fact, having a celebration of a similar kind. Trinidad and Tobago will also cross the milestone of 50 years as an independent nation. It is with this in mind that one is prompted to delve shortly into a comparison of how these two CARICOM powerhouses have expended their independent capital.

First up, the most glaring disparity exists in the state of the economies of these two nations. While we here in Jamaica have experienced constant belt-tightening for the better part of three decades, our friends in the twin-island republic have dealt decisively with their economic issues from early in the 1990s.

NUMBERS STACKED IN TRINIS' FAVOUR

Sure, they do have oil in Trinidad, but the reality is that they could have followed us and squandered their natural resources. The financial disparity is glaring. Trinidad's GDP stands at US$28.6 billion, with real GDP growth expected to reach 2.2 per cent in the last fiscal year.

Trinidad's per-capita income stands at US$18,800, while Jamaica, on the other hand, has a GDP of $13.69 billion and our per-capita income stands at a modest US$8,300.

If the aforementioned was not glaring enough, we but only have to examine the burgeoning trade deficit, whereby we import in the region of 17.6 per cent of all imported goods from Trinidad, while exporting very little.

As we now argue over the transition from a monarchical system of governance to a republican system, our friends in Trinidad accomplished that in 1976. While we struggle to fund education here in 'Jamrock', our neighbours offer free education up to the tertiary level for its nationals.

With all this considered, who exercised more sensible governance since gaining Independence in 1962?

NOEL MATHERSON

noelmatherson@gmail.com

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