Jamaica has to make changes in the real sector in 2020
KEITH DUNCAN, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and chairman of JMMB, is a stout defender of the Government’s achievements in the area of macroeconomic stability. Over the Christmas holiday, he decided to expand his family horizons about Jamaica’s socioeconomic prospects by touring the inner city.
Who better than Duncan to make this assessment? He is the son of the late Joan Duncan, a banker, and an intellectual thinker who spent time exploring deficiencies in the money and capital markets. She persisted, eventually establishing a finance company.
If his mother was strong on business and economics, his father, Dr DK Duncan, was heavy duty as a populist and social activist. Even at school at Jamaica College, as youngsters, we always admired how much DK cared, had time to talk and share his knowledge, and even showed us batting techniques in cricket where he was outstanding.
So Keith, the product of an indulgent socialist father and an insightful entrepreneur mother, should be the perfect person to show his children another side of Jamaica then write about its economic prospects and his priorities.
His column, ‘Jamaica’s reality and achieving Vision 2030’, appeared in last Sunday’s Observer and opened with, “My children have grown up insulated from the harsh realities of Jamaica, and some of us, in our more privileged domains, look at the murder rates and poverty levels as statistics until it comes too close to home.”
Duncan took his children to Trench Town and visited residents who had lost their possessions in a fire. His response, “I know poverty is a real problem in Jamaica, but what my sons and I observed was abject poverty. The hopelessness was depressing, to say the least.”
While commending the Government for increasing resources through safety-net programmes, he noted that “poverty levels at 19.3 per cent remain a challenge.” His priorities: a) The country needs to get its politics right as Jamaicans have grown cynical.
b) The country without the IMF has to continue reducing its debtto-GDP levels.
c) The country needs a national consensus on its crime strategy.
d) Jamaica has to start investing in people living in the most vulnerable communities.
e) Education needs better-quality outcomes that will increase productivity, create higher-paying
There is no language, leader, nor legislation, fostering or ensuring responsibility and accountability. Social dysfunction is at the root of our problems.
People are desperate for housing, and people are desperate to earn incomes to facilitate rental or ownership, but prolonged and sustained devaluation, combined with largely misguided education policies, have left many behind.