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PetroCaribe buy-back debate engaging

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2015 | 9:33 PM


I welcome with open arms the raging debate between some of Jamaica's brightest financial minds about the PetroCaribe deal debt buy-back. It is unfortunate, however, that this debate wasn't had before the Government made steps to secure it.

Nonetheless, I note the extensive contribution of Fayval Williams and Ralston Hyman to this debate. They have really stepped up and delivered and I must commend them both. I really enjoyed both their arguments, but I am inclined to side with Mrs Williams. Mrs Williams' approach to this matter should be of note to her colleagues in the Opposition.

I must admit that when news came of this deal, I was very excited about it, not paying attention to the possible implications it might have on the country in the long run. Certainly, from what I have read in The Sunday Gleaner and listened on talk-show programmes, Fayval Williams has put forward some credible arguments and the public can only wait on the response of the Government.

I would like to know how the Government plans to pay back the debt given that our economy is not growing above one per cent.

I want to register my disappointment with the little contribution from government officials, including Dr Peter Phillips, the finance minister. We have been hearing bits and pieces of details on the debt buy-back, but nothing substantial from the minister who has responsibility for such matters and it worries me.

Never before have we been ever treated to such thorough and robust economic and finance debate outside of the budget season. I would urge Dr Phillips to contribute to this very vibrant and refreshing debate so that the public would develop a greater understanding of the issues and, even more important, so that the country is getting value for money.