Prime Minister Says Stock Market can Facilitate Equitable Wealth Distribution

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), greets Managing Director of the United States investment firm, Jefferies; and Head of the entity’s Fixed Income Wealth Management division, Gregory Fisher (2nd left), on arrival at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, January 24, for the opening ceremony of the 12th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference. Others (from left) are: JSE Chairman, Ian McNaughton; and The Jamaica Pegasus General Manager, Peter Hilary.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica’s stock market represents an area of strategic investment capable of facilitating equitable wealth distribution across the society.
  • He argued that the pursuit of prosperity cannot be undertaken and achieved while ignoring the society’s marginalised deemed to have been dispossessed, disenfranchised “or who did not get an equal opportunity to be endowed.”

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says Jamaica’s stock market represents an area of strategic investment capable of facilitating equitable wealth distribution across the society.

Addressing the opening of the 12th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on January 24, the Prime Minister said that inequity has been one of the “biggest obstacles” in the undertaking to transform the economy.

He argued that the pursuit of prosperity cannot be undertaken and achieved while ignoring the society’s marginalised deemed to have been dispossessed, disenfranchised “or who did not get an equal opportunity to be endowed.”

The Prime Minister emphasised the need for stakeholder dialogue on the matter, noting that concerns regarding equity are among the reasons why successive administrations have been reluctant to privatise some State assets and services.

Mr. Holness said it is imperative for the society to have a clear understanding that the welfare and rights of every citizen “will not just be preserved, but they will be protected and advanced.”

As such, he said the Administration deemed the stock market as “necessary” in addressing the issue of equity.

Noting that in its current format, the stock market may not have a large participation of low-income earners, Mr. Holness argued that as it is incorporated in pension or insurance funds arrangements, which encourages investments, “then you (will) start to see the distribution of wealth in the society changing.”

The Prime Minister pointed out that the stock market “allows the rich man and the poor man to own wealth.”

“So, we accept the argument…that it might not be the best economics in giving an incentive to the stock exchange. But in the balance of things, it is important that we encourage a stock exchange, because that is how we are going to create wealth…and move from poverty to prosperity,” Mr. Holness added.

The three-day conference is being held from January 24 to 26 under the theme: ‘Global Investment Horizon: Our Options and Our Future’.

JIS Social