The following is a response by Opposition Spokesman for Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development, Mr. Audley Shaw to comments made by former Prime Minister PJ Patterson in the Press
I flatly reject former Prime Minister PJ Patterson’s assertion that the JLP Administration acted too late to the 2008 global economic crisis.
As Minister of Finance I led an aggressive re-engagement with the European Union (EU) and Multilateral Institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) successfully resulting in Jamaica receiving early and unprecedented access to low cost project and Development Policy loans from the IDB and the World Bank. The first IDB loan of US$100 million was signed a few months after the JLP came to power with another US$100 million from the World Bank soon after.
This policy of re-engagement opened the doors to timely negotiations with the IMF in addition to critical decisions which we had the courage to make, including the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) and the divestment of loss making public entities. In all we secured an agreement and brought into Jamaica over US$3 billion, most at low interest rates of less than 2.0 percent per annum, from the IMF, the IDB, the World Bank and the CDB.
This allowed us to cope effectively with the fallout in revenue and foreign exchange earnings due to the global economic crisis and, along with careful fiscal management, stabilized the economy with healthy foreign exchange reserves, a stable exchange rate for over 2 years, low inflation, record low interest rates at the central bank with mortgage rates cut in half and a return to growth in the economy.
Respectfully, Mr. Patterson of all persons should keep quiet since Jamaica’s economy had suffered immensely under his 13-year administration as Prime Minister, than under the 2008 Global Economic Crisis.
Under Michael Manley, PJ Patterson and Dr. Omar Davies, and during the time when they were chasing away the IMF, the economy collapsed with money supply out of control. The exchange rate fell from J$5.50 to US$1.00 to J$70 to US$1.00,
Inflation galloped to 80 percent and interest rates averaged a disastrous 53 percent in the 1990s. Beyond that there was little or no growth in the economy and the entire productive and financial sectors collapsed, driving decent hard working Jamaicans into a state of poverty.
In fact, most of the work we did between 2007 and 2011 was to clean up the mess left by previous PNP Administrations and less to do with the 2008 Global Economic Crisis. Our high public debt, high interest rates and the lack of growth were there long before and are well-established legacies of PJ Patterson and the PNP. So bad was the record of economic governance, the Portia Simpson-Miller led administration of today is clearly engaged in an effort to cover-up the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Sector Collapse of the 1990s.
Now, instead of making erroneous and mischievous statements about Jamaica’s recent economic history Mr. Patterson should introspect and apologize to the people of Jamaica for the pain, destruction and hurt that his failed administration brought upon the people of Jamaica.
Rest assured Mr. Patterson that I will immediately respond to every piece of falsehood uttered as you attempt to in a bare-faced manner rewrite history and sanitises your own image.