Letters to the Editor

We need a debt hero

Tuesday, April 25, 2017    

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Dear Editor,

In 1981, when I was born, Jamaica’s debt-to-GDP was about 70 per cent. Some 10 years later, in 1991, it was a mind-boggling 178 per cent! Today, debt-to-GDP is about 120 per cent.

Jamaica’s dependency on borrowing has been the basis of our economic policy for decades. It’s the ‘evil we know’, so we are sticking to it.

The debt will continue to increase if we don’t have a shift in thinking at the leadership level in terms of economic policy and growth. We will continue to see higher taxes in each successive financial year because the creditors mean to collect what is owed to them with interest, and these leaders we have seem to know no other sense of financing but taxation.

The whole economic machinery in Jamaica is a screeching, smoking mess. The thinking must change.

Don’t be fooled, we got the thumbs up from the International Monetary Fund only because we are paying them back what we borrowed, not because Jamaica is better off. I have come to realise that paying back debt translates into investor confidence and favourable international ratings; so as long as the debt is serviced, whatever the cost, we will look good to creditors and investors.

They like to see us stay down, apparently. We can remain beggars for all they care. Plus, they have money to lend, lots of it, and the exchange rate is so awesome, so why not Jamaica. Our dependence feeds their insatiable appetite for control and wealth.

To get out (of the abusive relationship with creditors) is like a man trying to leave a drug cartel — either he stays out of fear and enjoy the spoils for a season, or he takes his time to plan the perfect getaway and carve out a better future for himself.

In any event, it’s not that our current leaders want to get out of the mess.

I reckon we need a hero, a visionary; someone clear-minded, strong and courageous to save the day.

Derville Lowe

Kingston 19






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