Probably We Need To Hear It From Chicago…

No one knows what prompted the Chicago Tribune to write about Jamaica, but for some of us, we’re glad they did.

Today’s drama (well, for some people) was about an editorial about Jamaica written by the Chicago Tribune. For some people, this is was nothing new; they’re probably just glad somebody else highlighted it.

The article was so good (true), I wish I could copy and paste the entire text here, but I will highlight some points for you. Some Jamaicans think that our plight is hidden and we really didn’t want the international press to pick up on our issues. Don’t worry, Jamaica’s situation is no secret. But probably we need to hear it from Chicago. No need for any big public debate.

Here are some of the key, well said, already well  known, but hard to accept points they made.

Consecutive governments campaigning with empty promises

We have really been delaying the inevitable. Somehow no one wants to impose that bitter medicine, which it sounds like Andrew Holness would have imposed, and make him out to be a hero. They write;

But as with Greece, as with America, as with the state of Illinois, government leaders have balked at imposing the inevitable hardships.Saying no to favored constituents is no easier in Kingston than in Springfield.

We only have 2 or 3 alternatives;

The potential alternative is worse: Defaulting on its debt would ruin Jamaica’s prospects for many years to come: It would undermine the island’s critically important trade relations with the U.S. It would discourage badly needed foreign investment in its tourism, agriculture and mining sectors. The only thing worse than doing what Jamaica must do to live within its means would be not doing it.

I underlined the previous line above, as I think that is the clincher. We dont really need to read anything else.

As for our borrowing options? We either live within our means or borrow… and right now, the IMF is the best place to borrow,

The analogy only goes so far since those much-larger economies (Spain, Italy, Japan or, yes, the U.S.) have better resources to manage their finances. Jamaica has few options, apart from beseeching the IMF.

Just to ensure my readers understand, THIS is what Jamaica needs to do… and do NOW! Of course, the Tribube stayed in their offices in Chicago and figured it out.

The broader solution, however, is as obvious and necessary in Jamaica as it is in Greece and other countries mired in debt: Reform taxes, curb pension costs, cut public payrolls.

Now is the time Madame Prime Minister, now is the hour; responsible stewardship, people power. As for the successive governments, they correctly write;

What really happened, however, is that IMF fixes gave Jamaica a temporary lifeline, but government never stopped borrowing and spending. The lesson of Jamaica is not that access to credit is bad. It’s that irresponsible stewardship is bad.

Well said, and properly written. Thank you for waking up on that side of the bed Mr Chicago Tribune, please write more about the situation as we here have been highlighting the truth to our government. But who knows, probably they need to hear it all the way from Chicago.

What is your view on the editorial and Jamaica’s current debt situation?


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