Impose heavy duties on imports
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Import substitution, export or die, common phrases in the Manley era. What has changed? The outstretched palm should be our national symbol. debt forgiveness, is that our only hope? Are we going to wait until wedefault on our bond payments and then, like Argentina, call the bondholders 'vultures' when they try to collect through the courts?
We must withdraw from the World Trade Organisation. We cannot have free trade and talk about import substitution. We must use custom duties to protect local producers. We have an overcapacity Cement Company, yet we are borrowing from the International Monetary Fund to pay for imported cement.
The Government should nationalise the insolvent Carib Cement. The cost should not be high, as the shares quoted on the stock market are less than one cent US. The shares could then be sold to Jamaican entrepreneurs. There has been much talk about building a new cement factory; resuscitate Carib Cement instead. We do not have oil, we have cement; let us make use of it.
We have a surplus of pork. Government should levy custom duty on pork sufficient to discourage imports. One thing is certain: We will not succeed in jawboning Jamaicans to buy Jamaican when there is cheaper commodity on the shelf. We must remove the imported items.