Monthly Archives: June 2013

Ministers Phillips, Nicholson & Hylton all complicit in the rapid devaluation of JA$

ImageGeneration 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, has expressed deep concern about the Jamaican Dollar passing the JM$100 to US$1.00 mark, making it the first time in history that the Jamaican Dollar has been worth less than 1 US cent.

The continued depreciation of the value of the Jamaican Dollar at this alarming pace is having a devastating impact on all Jamaicans, especially the poor and the middle class. Since January, the massive depreciation in the dollar’s value has been accompanied by noticeable increases in the prices of basic food items and energy costs, which if allowed to continue unchecked, will soon become an unbearable burden on the Jamaican people”, said Floyd Green, president of G2K.

The Organization noted that the failure and obvious inability of key Ministers of the Government to craft and implement a growth agenda is at heart of the continued depreciation of the dollar and stated  that at a time when growth should be given the highest priority:

  • The Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Peter Phillips, has not presented the country with a credible growth plan, therefore fostering an environment that breeds speculation, panic and uncertainty.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A J Nicholson, is mute and ineffective as an advocate for Jamaican Businesses abroad that earn foreign exchange and strengthen the Jamaican dollar;
  • The Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton is seemingly completely lost and unprepared for the upcoming opening of the Panama Canal; an opportunity that could strengthen the economy and rapidly create jobs.

G2K further added that the situation is compounded by the Prime Minister’s failure to lead her Government along the path of sacrifice sharing. While the average Jamaican household is forced to tighten its belt, the Country continues to be burdened the with an oversized Cabinet, wasteful expenditure on consultants, luxury vehicles and no ends of trips and retreats paid for by the Jamaican taxpayers.


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ImageThe Opposition Jamaica Labour Party today called on the Government of Jamaica to take firm action to halt the continuing precipitous slide in the exchange rate which has now reached the psychologically devastating threshold of over J$100.00 to US$1.00.

In making the call, Opposition spokesman on Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development, Audley Shaw, said that now that the dust has settled since the new IMF Agreement, the new round of devaluation which is now taking place indicates that confidence in the Government’s management of the economy has not returned among the critical stakeholders in the foreign exchange market.


Mr. Shaw said that despite the injection of over US$200 million at the BOJ and US$90 million in direct budgetary support from the IMF, the dollar continues to slide although we are not even in a peak season of demand for foreign currency. Equally, the Net International Reserves still remains well below the US$1.0 billion level, which is also a critical benchmark figure.


Mr. Shaw also noted that despite pledges made by other multilateral institutions, there are no signs that can lead to an expectation of any significant early draw-downs from these institutions, as these disbursements will depend largely on the institutional capacity of the Finance Ministry to fulfil the requirements for qualification for these funds.


Mr. Shaw said that the Government must now stop ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ and take firm, decisive steps that can build investor and stakeholder confidence, halt the slide in the exchange rate and its negative consequences for increased cost of living, and programme a sustained period of stability and predictability that will lead to economic growth, revenue growth and job creation.


Mr. Shaw recommended the following measures that can help to restore investor confidence:


1. Open immediate and urgent dialogue with the critical stakeholders in the foreign exchange market seeking their support to temporarily fix the exchange rate at the existing level or close to it.


2.  Carry out an urgent review of recently imposed tax measures that are hostile to the productive sector, and consider specifically the rollback of the increase in Transfer Tax and Stamp Duties, abolish the Dividend Tax and abolish all taxes on raw materials and capital goods for the Productive Sector.


3.  Ramp-up the retooling programme for energy efficiency with low cost loans and grants.


4.  Ramp-up the small business investment promotion programme by fast-tracking access to credit and micro-financing; and


5.  Fast-track the programme of accessing low cost loans and grants from the IDB, the World Bank and the European Union.


Mr. Shaw said that these are minimum requirements that must be implemented by Government to restore confidence and get the economy growing again.


Mr. Shaw further stated that the gravity of the situation requires the intervention of the Prime Minister and warned against an over-reliance on the IMF Agreement as a substitute for the sensible, practical action that is needed from the Government.


Mr. Shaw said that this situation must be considered as urgent as these new developments in the economy reveals the fragility of the recently concluded IMF Agreement.

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ImageThree months to the day of the commencement of the probe by the Office of the Contractor General into the Richard Azan Spalding Market controversy, Generation 2000, the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, has released a letter sent to the Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, asking him to indicate the proposed date of completion and submission of his report.

The letter which was sent on the 29th day of May, 2013 by president of the organization, Floyd Green, called upon the Contractor General to act in the interest of public and set a reasonable time-frame for the completion of the report. Green also urged the new Contractor General to advise the nation of projected deadlines to complete investigations that are launched in the future, as well as to provide regular updates to the public on the progress of such probes going forward.

Additionally, G2K posed a number of questions to the Contractor General regarding his office’s monitoring of the Government’s mega projects. In particular, the organization asked that “in  light of the pronouncement by the Honourable Minister of Transport, Mr. Omar Davies, in his sectoral presentation to the Houses of Parliament on May 7, 2013, that:

i. “… work has resumed on Section 2 of the North –South link of Highway 2000 and

ii. that the process of land acquisition in relation to Section 1 of the North –South  link of Highway 2000 is moving ahead”

what steps are being taken by the OCG to ensure that there is transparency, accountability and probity in the implementation of the project?”

The Contractor General acknowledged receipt on May 31, 2013 but is yet to provide a substantive response.


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