The Sunday Gleaner story today detailing hyper spending by the government on Christmas Parties came as no surprise. The Ministry of Finance of all Ministries spent J$1.275 million on its Christmas party by the Caymanas Golf and Country Club; talk about fiscal responsibility! Meanwhile, the Transport and Works Ministry headed by no other than every productive businessman’s worst nightmare Dr. Omar Davies, former Finance Minister, spent under a million on their shinding at the National Housing Trust’s Sports Club. Similar cases spread across the length and breadth of government with the government shelling dung millions.
ECONOMY IN CRISIS
Jamaica has seen a major and frighteningly frenetic reversal in the economic gains of 2011. The Net International Reserves has plunged from just about US$2 billion to just around US$1.1 billion to date. Beyond that the exchange rate has galloped from J$86: US$1 to around J$94:US$1, interest rates are going up, prices are rising fast, unemployment is at a ten year high and business and consumer confidence levels are dismal. Yet in the midst of this economic disaster resulting more and more from poor leadership there are astonishing levels of misery and confusion across the island while the government continues to spend scarce tax dollars like how any Millionaire Rapper would.
The government tells Jamaicans over and over to tighten their belts, demand that public sector workers absorb another wage freeze and readies to land billions of dollars more in oppressive taxes. Nevertheless, they buy 16 brand new luxury SUVs for themselves, take on scores of multi-million dollar Advisors and Consultants; maintain a huge 20 member Cabinet, spend over J$140 million on a grand party in London during the Olympics, rack up multi-million phone bills, snap up Jazz and Blues tickets for family and friends and now spend liberally on Christmas parties?
Recall in 2010 then Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his Cabinet instructed that no public funds should be spent by Ministries and the broader Public Sector for Christmas parties, given the state of the economy, saving us millions of dollars.
Oh wouldn’t Jamaica do good with a Bruce Golding now.
Sunday Gleaner – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130127/lead/lead74.html