Jamaican Politics & Governance
Caribbean Governance, Jamaican economy, Jamaican politics
I only became aware of the existence of Witter”™s paper a few days ago. It seems it was not given much prominence in the media and the issues he raises were not seriously addressed during the Jamaican election campaign,
I agree with the majority of his ideas and proposals so I will focus on those that I disagree with or have something to add.
1. On the matter of reducing debt payments, it might have been useful to quantify even in an indicative way, the resources that could be released as a result. Witter”™s paper proposes increases in public spending in certain areas, so we need some idea as to how this would be financed by reducing debt payments.
2. Where do we stand on Lloyd D-Aguilar”™s proposal for a forensic audit of Jamaica”™s public debt? http://www.normangirvan.info/daguilar-audit-jamaicas-debt/ The concept of ” bad debt” is now established and Argentina and Ecuador are two countries that have made use of this concept to reduce their debt payments.
3 On the EPA and CSME: I have serious doubts that the CSME as it is presently designed can be an effective platform for increasing competitiveness for extra-regional exporting. I support a selective approach that prioritises key areas and sectors for joint action where clear and tangible benefits are more likely. Please see my comment at
4. More generally, there needs to be a coherent and strategic approach to trade policy to link it organically to development strategy. The EPA and the Canada-CARICOM surrender a great deal of policy space that is necessary to do some of the things you propose, such as further trade liberalisation, fostering domestic industry and agriculture; and commitment to a great deal of legislative and regulatory changes that are going to be very costly and attention-diverting to implement, with questionable benefits, e.g. in services, investment, trade facilitation, etc There needs to be some hard strategic thinking on how this can be handled without economic disruption
5. On clusters of agriculture-manufacturing-tourism and culture-entertainment-sport; I believe thes is the way to go. The problem is how to induce a greater flow of entrepreneurship, investment and innovation into these areas when investors’ relative returns net of perceived risk favour importing, commerce and financial intermediation? Jamaica seems to have a distorted and perverse structure of effective incentives that favours non-productive activity over productive activity. Tax incentives and special credit facilities will have minimal effect when all the market signals point in the opposite direction. What I am suggesting is that we need to consider means should be explored to dis-incentivise the ” wrong” things in order to incentivize the “right” things.
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