Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Prosperity and Public Sector Wage Negotiation

2018/2019 Budget

The problem the JLP Government is having at the moment is that they are becoming victims of their own Delusional and “Illusional” Public Relation Campaign. I am sorry but you cannot walk around screaming Prosperity while still trying to implement Austerity. It is Irresponsible and disingenuous to sell people a false sense of security. The Government must get back to reality and paint that picture of reality to the people of this country and encourage them to get on board with all hands on deck. The work is not over but just beginning.

The last PNP government had to face fiscal reality right out of the box after taking office in 2012, they had no choice. By the time they took office Jamaica had failed all of the previous IMF test and talks had broken down completely. As a result the IMF, World Bank and OAS circled the wagon and told Jamaica we were out of the Global financing business until we get our shit together and return to the path we agreed upon during the 2010 IMF agreements. As a result the 2013 IMF agreement was extra strict, Jamaica was not given a lump sum of money but instead given various task to fulfill, jump through hoops and only after we completed those task did the IMF gave us a little money, it was $10, $20 and $30 million at a time and after proof of completed task.

Is there a difference between new taxes compared to increased old taxes? How I see it either way you will be paying more?

The 2013 IMF agreement was the Austerity agreement where IMF dictated terms and Jamaica said yes sir and jump as high as they commanded us to jump. The Government of the day declared that we are dealing with Austerity, that the IMF wants discipline and the implementation of Austerity as a condition for Jamaica to rejoin the international financial markets and get the much needed loans for budgetary support. That Government made it very clear to the people that our backs was against the wall, the Government made it very clear to the people that it was time to make sacrifice, that it was time to tighten our belts and do with less and that we had no other option, it was Austerity. This message resonated throughout the society and all the stakeholders got on board. Most of the stakeholders were able to meet face to face with the IMF representatives who did not hold back or mince words. The last Government implemented Austerity with success (if austerity can be defined as success) because Austerity did what Austerity was supposed to do which is to implement reforms and put our fiscal books in a better order.

So much so that when the JLP party became the Government the JLP Government thanked the last PNP Government for inheriting a stable economy, for putting our fiscal books in some sort of an order and for laying the ground work for growth (1.6%).

In 2016 The JLP Government on taking office declared that Austerity was OVER and that it was Prosperity time now. This JLP Government spend a lot of time trying to convince the people that we are living in a “Time of Plenty”, that we are living in a “Land of Prosperity”. This public relation campaign was relentless and ongoing because 70% of everything that comes out of this Government is nothing but an illusion, Jedi Mind tricks, The Matrix and the over selling of this illusion will come back to bite them because they are NOT being straight with the Jamaican people. Sooner or later reality will set in and expose the fact that we are NOT in the Land of Plenty and Prosperity. That NOT much have changed, our lot in life have only marginally improved and we are NOT yet out of the woods. The last people to oversell anything to the Jamaican people because they need a constant and steady dosage of reality to keep them focus.

The Jamaican Economy is still very fragile and slow to the turn and one false move can set us back 5 years. The Government must stop spreading false perception and start selling reality. I understand we want public optimism to be high but let us not get beyond ourselves. One second the Government is on stage, jumping around like circus clowns shouting Prosperity and the next they are telling public sector workers with high expectations and expectations they created, that they are skint, broke, cannot afford to pay them above Austerity rates. Well which is it?

If the General elections was called today who would you vote for?

I see no reason at this time NOT to vote for the JLP because I do not see what if anything new the PNP would bring to the table and if they have an alternate plan then I have not heard it. I will continue to highlight JLP hypocrisy but hypocrisy alone is not enough to vote out the current government because hypocrisy is not limited to the JLP, the PNP can give as much as they get.

It is no secret that the JLP is waving the political magic wand, painting an "illusionary" picture of prosperity, making promises and not delivering but that is typical of any political party, the PNP have done their share of empty promises. A lot of our Economic indicators are stable and some moving in the right direction so I see no reason to upset the apple cart at this time. Debt to GDP continue to decline this started under the PNP Government was in power and still on a down ward trajectory. Unemployment is at 10.2% down from 12.9%, the NIR and primary surplus are also in positive territory.  So I see no reason to vote out JLP if an election was held today. 

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