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EDITORIAL - Davies was irresponsible

Published:Friday | January 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Dr Omar Davies, when he was finance minister, had a penchant, as we have noted before, for lecturing the Opposition on the need for responsibility when making statements about the Jamaican financial market and its institutions.

He was right. Financial markets are notoriously fickle and are easily spooked. Moreover, given the global integration of markets, nothing that is done or said in Jamaica stops at our borders. Rather, they help to shape the perception of, and response to, Jamaica by foreign markets.

Which is why we again advise Dr Davies to heed his own advice, and agree with Mr Audley Shaw, the current finance minister, that his predecessor behaved irresponsibly in his statement this week on the possible effect of the central bank's recent advances to the Government.

Whatever may be the criticisms of Dr Davies' tenure at home, there is little doubt that he has credibility and is listened to abroad. So, when he asserts that the $23 billion that the Bank of Jamaica made available to the Government was tantamount to printing money and could lead to the collapse of the economy and caused serious damage to financial institutions, market players will, no doubt, pay attention.

Alarmist remark

That is not what we expect of Dr Davies. That remark was alarmist.

We do not mean to imply that Dr Davies and his Opposition colleagues ought not to criticise Mr Shaw's recent poor handling of the economy, with which we agree. But we expect that the critique of policies and programmes must be sensitive to those areas that can be seriously impaired by sensationalist declarations.

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