Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Reduced purchasing power putting strain on pensioners

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2023 | 12:16 AM


Rev Peter Espeut should be commended for his piece in The Gleaner of March 17, titled ‘Inflation, productivity and exploitation’. I would like to make the following comments.

First, about 30 years ago I remember travelling to Trinidad and Tobago. The country may or may not have been approaching a general election, but all I can recall is everyone discussing the need for a ‘COLA’ (cost of living adjustment).

Second, when I retired about 20 years ago, the exchange rate with the US dollar to Jamaican dollar was about US$40 to $1.

In recent times, the exchange rate is almost J$160 to US$1. In other words, my pension (disregarding everything about inflation, which has its own impact), in a mere 20 years or so, has seen its purchasing power (or equivalent value) reduced to one-fourth of what it was 20 years ago.

And all I can do is rue the fact that I am not lucky enough to have been a former prime minister of my country to be accorded with perks. Something is wrong here and it needs to be fixed.