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LETTER OF THE DAY - Come clean on economy

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM


I have read and listened to the litany of woes that has been laid out against the sitting administration, particularly in its stewardship of the economy in its first year in office.

The slide in the value of the Jamaican dollar, in relation to the US dollar, is perhaps one of the greatest worries for many, particularly as there is still no clear indication yet as to when a deal will or may be signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indeed, the prime minister's now-infamous claim, while in Opposition before the elections two Decembers ago, that she would sign an IMF deal in two weeks seems to have come back to haunt her Government.

However, all who had heard that proposition would have been keenly aware that this was campaign speak, designed for the specific purpose of eliciting support from the base. In fact, common sense demanded that before any such arrangements could be finalised, there would have been need for a full audit of the previous agreement with the Fund and, in particular, what would have led to the consecutively missed targets which were set. This is especially in the case of the last part of the life of the previous administration.

Now, more than ever, the Government needs to adopt a policy of full disclosure as to the actual state in which the economy was found; the conditions the State's finances were really in before taking office, as well as to give likely indications of what a new arrangement with the IMF would and could mean for regular folk in this context.

With a year under its belt, the Portia Simpson Miller-led team should have a reasonably strong sense of where things are now and what was discovered. They should also be able to make even moderate assessments of expectations and projections over the short to medium term.


It is incumbent upon the Government that this is done, especially with likely hints of new taxes in the coming financial year. There has to also be a seriouscommitment to address the loopholes in the current tax structure; that is, where incomes are earned in various sectors and taxes are not paid over to Government. This must be urgently resolved.

Government communication has to address these matters in their various facets if it is to be deemed effective. Nothing less than the full picture, warts and all, must be regularly provided and across various platforms.

In effect, more dialogue is required, as a matter of course.

That has to be the watchword going forward in any negotiations.


St Andrew