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Portia Simpson Miller and Dr Peter Phillips: Then and now ...

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Brian Pengelley, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, arrives for a meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and members of the business community at Vale Royal in St Andrew yesterday, hours ahead of Simpson Miller and Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips' broadcast to the nation last night. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Dennis Lalor, chairman of the Insurance Company of the West Indies, arrives at Vale Royal. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Audley Shaw, opposition spokesman on finance, leaves yesterday's meeting at Vale Royal. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

January 2012

Phillips on job cuts

We have not had any briefing about the situation with respect to our public finances and other things, but I think it is also very clear that there is no prospect of massive layoffs in the public sector.

Any notion of massive layoffs would be something that would devastate the entire standard of living of the country.

Last night

We will also need to have a contract in place with public-sector workers which will enable the achievement of a wage-to-GDP ratio of nine per cent by 2015-2016. We are in active discussion with the representatives of public-sector workers to achieve this objective.

January 26, 2010, during IMF debate in Parliament

Phillips on JDX

We are not arguing against the necessity (for a JDX) but we should be clear on its effects, which will be particularly hard on middle-class and pensioners and those who are euphemistically called the retail investors. These are the people, Mr Speaker, who saved for the rainy day. Now the rain has come and their umbrella is being taken away.

Last night

The economic reform programme which we are undertaking, and for which we are seeking support from the IMF, has as its major objective the reduction of our public debt in order to achieve sustained economic growth and job creation.

Many of our bondholders, with good reason, will immediately respond to this announcement with a sense of disappointment as they recall that they made a similar sacrifice for Jamaica three years ago, when they were assured that their sacrifice would have put Jamaica on the path of growth and stability. I am only too aware of the fact that for them to be asked to make another sacrifice at this time is a burden that will be hard to bear.

January 26, 2010, during IMF debate in Parliament

Simpson Miller on Jamaica Debt Exchange

We agree that there is an urgent need to lower the Government's interest payment on debt. In that regard, Mr Speaker, in principle we support the Jamaica Debt Exchange. We cannot give it our unconditional support as it involves some clear and present risks. The impacts of most of these risks are unknown at this time. However, they cannot be ignored, even though their outcome is uncertain and will only be revealed in time.

Last night

The urgency of the situation demands a National Debt Exchange offer, which will be launched on Tuesday morning. This National Debt Exchange offer is a critical component of both the IMF agreement and our debt-reduction programme. It can only succeed with the fullest cooperation of the broad financial sector and the support of the entire country.

I am therefore inviting every Jamaican to make this investment in our country's future.