Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Are we better off today under PNP?

Published:Tuesday | February 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Kent Gammon, GUEST COLUMNIST

When the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) took office in September 2007, the Jamaican economy was in free fall decline with Ponzi schemes like Cash Plus and Olint running amok, completely unregulated by the State and giving vulnerable citizens a false sense of financial security.

The worst global recession the world had experienced in over 80 years then sneaked up on the JLP in September 2008 and placed the Jamaican economy in a more perilous state. Thankfully, the administration of the day weathered that horrible storm, despite the mainstream pro-People's National Party (PNP) media and the PNP's main ally, the Jamaica Teachers' Association, blaming the JLP for the hard economic times then prevailing.

The Jamaican dollar remained stable at an average rate of US$1 to J$86 for some two years; crime was cut significantly in the JLP's last year in office; and the middle class, while destroyed in the 1990s by the PNP's abysmal high interest rate policies, had some hope of at least remaining the middle class, with the lower classes having a glimmer of hope of rising.

Empty Campaign Promises

On December 29, 2011, the PNP romped into office based on their empty, populist campaign promises.

In January 2015, the Jamaican dollar is now $115:US$1. Crime is still out of control, with the sixth highest murder rate in the world. And the price of food continues to move out of the reach of the average Jamaican.

The middle class is doing horribly under the PNP, which had no care for that class anyway. After all, Minister Omar Davies had declared that since 2002 that the PNP had lost the middle class, but the lower class, too, is suffering and will remain poor and abused by the State as long as the Jamaican economy is placed in the hands of socialists who just do not understand business.

Let us look at a simple food price chart of just five selected food items: bread, salt fish, corned beef, eggs and sardines in December 2011 and at December 2014.

Food item Dec-11 Dec-14 Increases in food prices

Bread $160 $248 55%Salted fish$715 $1,20067%1 doz eggs $218.75 $300 37%Sardines $64 $90 40%Corned beef $201$300 49%

For the selected items, the average price of food has, in just three years, increased by 50 per cent and the dollar has lost its value by 34 per cent over the same period. This is a stark contrast to the 'oxtail and curry goat economic paradise' promised by the PNP populists in December 2011.

You can't fool all the people all the time

JLP Has The Better Team

The JLP has the better team to run the Jamaican economy and make life easier for all classes of Jamaicans.

The Jamaican people will need to understand that taxing businesses on an ever-increasing scale so as to hand out free goods to some people is not an effective long-term economic solution that encourages foreign investment. Nestlé Jamaica, which has been in Jamaica for decades, has pulled up stumps because of the hostile economic environment in Jamaica.

The ever-weakening Jamaican dollar will only make food more expensive as we import more food other than produce for ourselves, and that will make life harder for the average Jamaican worker.

With a weakening economy, crime will increase, making people more fearful of going about their normal daily business.

The Labour Party had an effective energy solution to diversify the country's energy dependence, which has been botched by the PNP, making it more costly to operate a business in Jamaica.

The Jamaican people want a better future, and that only comes though visionary leadership and pragmatic economic policies, not visionless socialists who spend other people's recklessly.

Kent Gammon is an attorney-at-law and deputy spokesman for the JLP. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and kentgammon@gmail.com.