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Phillips pummels Shaw

Published:Sunday | November 15, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
Phillips ... Why now would anyone want to pick a quarrel with people because they are doing something good on behalf of the Jamaican people?

PORTMORE, St Catherine:

Campaign director for the People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips has ribbed the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Audley Shaw for questioning the decision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce Jamaica's primary surplus.

Phillips, who is also the finance minister, says the reduction in the primary surplus will mean an extra $4 billion for the government to spend this year and $8 billion next year following a staff level agreement to lower the target to 7.25 percent of GDP for this fiscal year and to 7 per cent of GDP for 2016/17.

The primary surplus — now at 7.5 per cent — is the difference between what the country earns and what it spends excluding debt repayments.

"Why now would anyone want to pick a quarrel with people because they are doing something good on behalf of the Jamaican people?" Phillips questioned.

He said Jamaica has been seeking to have the primary surplus reduced since February and all Jamaicans should support the move by the IMF.

READ: IMF relaxes primary surplus target to allow for more Gov't spending

According to the IMF, Jamaica is experiencing a gradual economic recovery and growth is projected at 1.5 percent this fiscal year, and 2.5 percent for the next fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Phillips also landed blows at Shaw for questioning his projection of some 100,000 new jobs in the next term should the PNP be reelected.

"You should jump up and cheer instead of trying to find fault," Phillips said.

He reasoned that with 39,500 jobs created in the past two years, on the current trajectory some 100,000 are likely to be created.

Shaw also came in for a beating for his erroneous claims about the contents of a recent health audit.

READ: Audley's Apology ... Shaw says sorry for health audit misinformation

Phillips said it is clear that Jamaicans cannot trust members of the JLP who he said do less than honoured things.

He pointed to the recent incident involving opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte who it was alleged was on a bathroom break on being summoned by the Senate President but was spotted in the lunchroom of Parliament.