Lam­bert Brown paints Shaw as hyp­ocrite over dol­lar slide

Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION - Jo­van John­son Staff Re­porter jo­van.john­son@glean­

LAM­BERT BROWN used yes­ter­day’s meet­ing of the Se­nate to rip into Fi­nance and the Pub­lic Ser­vice Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw, paint­ing him as a hyp­ocrite over the con­tin­ued de­pre­ci­a­tion in the value of the Ja­maican dol­lar.

The Ja­maican dol­lar has moved from J$120.37 for US$1 in Jan­uary to J$128.73 for US$1 on Thurs­day.

On Thurs­day, Ale­jan­dro Werner, direc­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund’s (IMF) western hemi­sphere de­part­ment, ar­gued that the de­pre­ci­a­tion is good as it has brought the Ja­maican dol­lar where the econ­omy can com­pete against other coun­tries like Mex­ico, where the rate of de­pre­ci­a­tion has been even greater.

How­ever, op­po­si­tion sen­a­tors were not pleased on Fri­day and ques­tioned Shaw’s past rhetoric, with Brown read­ing into the recorded ex­cerpts from speeches Shaw made in the past four years de­nounc­ing the de­pre­ci­a­tion, which was built into the IMF agree­ment.


“Pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers who have been on a wage freeze for the past five years had a ma­jor pro­tec­tion in the first two years when the ex­change rate re­mained sta­ble, thereby keep­ing prices sta­ble. But in the last three years, this Gov­ern­ment broke the so­cial con­tract with pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers by pre­sid­ing over the most ag­gres­sive de­val­u­a­tion of the Ja­maican dol­lar [since the 1990s],” Brown read from Shaw’s 2015 Bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion as then op­po­si­tion spokesman on fi­nance.

“I can­not un­der­stand how the Gov­ern­ment has not yet ad­dressed, that in that pe­riod of six to seven months, the dol­lar has moved from $121 to $129 rush­ing to­wards $130. That move­ment amounts to a dol­larper-month slide in the Ja­maican dol­lar un­der the lead­er­ship of the man who loves to boast about dol­lar wine and the dol­lar slide,” Brown con­tin­ued.


In Fe­bru­ary, be­fore the gen­eral elec­tion, Shaw ar­gued that “the dol­lar slide, den it wine, and den all a we a get a dol­lar grind from Peter Phillips (then fi­nance min­is­ter) and the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP).” It was a crit­i­cism Shaw of­ten re­peated dur­ing his time in op­po­si­tion.

The Gov­ern­ment side hit back with Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aubyn Hill, not­ing that the Ja­maican dol­lar lost 40 per cent of its value in three years un­der the PNP ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mean­while, Mark Gold­ing, the leader of op­po­si­tion busi­ness, noted that there is a need to stem the de­pre­ci­a­tion as part of ef­forts to en­sure Ja­maicans have con­fi­dence in their cur­rency.

The sen­a­tors were con­tribut­ing to the de­bate on a bill to amend the Fi­nan­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Au­dit Act that pushed back the dead­line to March 31, 2019 for the achieve­ment of the tar­get of re­duc­ing pub­lic-sec­tor wages by nine per cent or less of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

The bill, which also sought to bring fi­nan­cial re­port­ing by pub­lic bod­ies up to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, was ap­proved.

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