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Financial Times turns spotlight on Jamaica's economic crisis

Published:Tuesday | December 17, 2013 | 12:00 AM

'Jamaica teeters on an economic precipice after years of stagnation,' ran the headline in The Financial Times of London (FT) on its website yesterday.

The report by FT reporter Robin Wigglesworth paints a picture of an economy which is struggling to survive high debt and rising crime, not helped by the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is part of a wider series on economies in the Caribbean area.

"While many previously buoyant island states across the Caribbean are now struggling, Jamaica's crisis is the deepest," said the FT report.

"Virtually every Jamaican is feeling the impact of a protracted economic stagnation, now exacerbated by the austerity mandated by an IMF bailout signed earlier this year."

The FT said despite the US$2-billion rescue, "Jamaica is teetering on the brink of financial collapse".

"After two restructurings in three years, government debts still amount to 143 per cent of the economy's annual output."

The FT also quotes Peter Phillips, minister of finance.

In one section of the report, it states: "Even a tropical storm could cause enough damage to push the country's strict bailout programme off course, admits Peter Phillips, Jamaica's finance minister. 'We are extremely vulnerable to any unanticipated shocks.'"

The report also contains a highlighted quote from a resident of Tivoli Gardens in downtown Kingston.

"We have no money, we have no jobs, and we're hungry," said Tivoli resident Keisha Sames.


The multimedia report carries two videos under the title 'Paradise: Lost' - one including a five-minute interview with Phillips with the subtitle 'Jamaica trapped in economic morass'.

In the interview, Phillips describes the state of Jamaica's economy and says, "The only sure way out of this is growth."

The other video shows an image of Jamaican athletes celebrating victory at the Olympic Games with the subtitle 'Made in Jamaica: Promoting the label'.

The five-minute feature contains interviews with Donovan Betancourt, head of facilities and technical operations at Digicel; Chris Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica; and Don Wehby, CEO of GraceKennedy.

The reporter states: "Jamaica has had limited success in selling its brand abroad."

The full FT story is online at