THE EDITOR, Sir:
The prime minister, in a newscast on February 20, strongly defended the use of the National Housing Trust funds to help in meeting the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) conditions for granting the country a second loan facility.
The alternative, as the PM sees it, would be for the Government to
On the other hand, the compulsion on the part of the Government in having to return to the IMF three years subsequent to similar assistance greatly diminishes confidence in its ability to adequately perform its functions and, by extension, to borrow even from local sources.
It is insightful to look back over the last two or so decades at the fiscal ineptitude of successive governments during that period. While other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Panama have advanced, Jamaica has declined to a point where our indebtness exceeds our national output by almost one and a half times. Our imports have grown and our exports have declined.
The only alternative left for the Government was to raid the NHT and cut the interest paid on its bonds.
It must be borne in mind, however, that the Fund is made up by compulsory deductions from the wages and salaries of thousands of employees for the purpose of providing housing or funds to purchase houses.
However, the NHT is a statutory
Some legal authorities seem to have seized upon this point to advise the Government that action taken is legal. This is being contested.
Questions arise: Having deducted these funds for a specified and agreed purpose, should the Government unilaterally divert and utilise the proceeds to its own use, without reference or without the consent of those from whom
How and when will the contributors be compensated?
ROY H. ALEXANDER