JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has asked Senator Don Wheby, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, to meet this week with the purchasers of the Government of Jamaica’s FINSAC debt, to see what arrangements can be brokered to help ease the burden on debtors.
Mr. Golding made the disclosure on (Wednesday, Feb. 13), while addressing Guardian Life Limited’s 8th Annual Awards at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.
Mr. Bruce Golding said despite the original debt being sold at a discount, many persons are having difficulty meeting their obligations based on the terms to which they agreed. He said many of these persons had invested in businesses which created jobs for people, and were now being treated unfairly. He said while the government had no control over the debt, given the nature of the sale agreement, it is hoped that in the exercise of good corporate responsibility, a better arrangement could be worked out for debtors. He said the FINSAC experience had not only left the country with a heavy debt burden, but had also damaged the investment psyche of the country and made investors reluctant to make long-term investments.
He said the country could not go forward solely on foreign direct investments and mega projects, but that it would require the enthusiasm of small investors to have a multiplier effect on economic growth and job creation.
Mr. Golding said the country needs to create the kind of atmosphere that would encourage small investors and support development. He cited volatility in oil prices, rising commodity prices and the imminent recession in the United States of America as factors which pose a challenge to the economy, but said that the government would hold firmly to its fiscal deficit target of 5.5 per cent. He said the government was also committed to capping the debt to GDP ratio in order to create more space for a wider menu of investment options.
Guardian Life presented over fifty awards and prizes to outstanding employees from its local office and operations in Belize.

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