THE EDITOR, Sir:
Many Jamaicans, and the international community at large, will no doubt conclude that the island's economy is bankrupt, based on the massive $1.7-trillion national debt which it currently faces.
Public-sector employees' wages were frozen in the contract periods 2004-2006 and 2010-2012, respectively. This would have saved the country billions of dollars, but such benefits were not clearly seen.
During the 1990s, Prime Minister Michael Manley, followed by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, called on Jamaicans to "increase production as a solution to our economic woes". Over the years, this call has been echoed by many of our leaders and officials but is easier said than done.
The real challenge is all about establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART) objectives which will bring positive results. This process requires the use of cognitive skills characterised by creative thinking, and nothing less.
As the years roll by, many individuals would have noticed the gradual and significant increase in Jamaica's debt burden under successive regimes. At the end of the People's National Party's (PNP) tenure in office in 1980, the foreign debt was estimated at US$1.2 billion. After nine years when the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) lost power to the PNP, the foreign debt was estimated at US$4.65 billion.
After more than 18 years of administration by the PNP, the national debt was estimated at $890 billion. Following four years of administration by the JLP, the national debt was estimated at J$1.6 trillion.
During the interim, many sharp and offensive criticisms have been levelled against officials from the various political parties - blaming them for the country's plight. It's obvious to many that much energy has been expended in the process of tearing down rather than building with creative ideas.
Jamaica's economy may be at risk of going bankrupt, but the greatest problem we face is a bankruptcy of ideas.