Call a general election now, Shaw tells gov't
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
ARGUING THAT there is an absence of leadership at Heroes Circle and Jamaica House, Audley Shaw, the Opposition spokesman on finance, planning, growth and economic development, says the Government may want to consider calling a general election to give Jamaicans an opportunity to elect persons to properly administer its affairs.
Heroes Circle is the seat of the country's finance ministry, which is headed by Dr Peter Phillips, while Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller directs the country's affairs from Jamaica House.
"If either of them don't wake up, and the Cabinet don't wake up, then maybe they need to wake up one day and call an election and let a government come in and do the work," Shaw told The Gleaner yesterday.
His suggestion for the Government to consider fresh general elections come against the background of a further devaluation in the value of the Jamaican dollar.
The dollar on Friday crossed the $100 mark for the first time, ending at $100.08 to US$1. The Jamaican dollar lost a further six cents during trading yesterday.
Shaw, who outlined a raft of measures to counter the problem, said Phillips is out of touch with reality and called for the intervention of Prime Minister Simpson Miller.
"I think he is out to lunch, I think he is feeling sanguine and satisfied at the fact that we have an IMF agreement, and there is a disaster that is facing us down the road," Shaw said.
Yesterday, Shaw promised to take a motion to Parliament for debate on the handling of the country's economy.
... Remedy for dollar slide
Audley Shaw, the Opposition spokesman on finance, planning, growth and economic development, said the government must find creative ways to halt the slide of the dollar and rescue the economy. He suggested, for example, that the government should seek consensus from major players in the private sector to manage the foreign exchange market.
"Let's set a level. let's say keep the dollar at a certain level, $101, $102, $105, whatever, and let us decide that as a people, we are going to stick with that level," Shaw said.
"It is a friendly kind of interference," Shaw said.
He has also suggested that the Government should carry out an urgent review of recently imposed tax measures, which he says are hostile to the productive sector, and should consider specifically, a rollback of the increase in transfer tax and stamp duties.
He also said the Government should abolish the dividend tax and abolish all taxes on raw materials and capital goods for the productive sector.