JIS News

The Financial Secretary, Dr. Wesley Hughes, has dismissed suggestions that Jamaica’s team negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is technically weak.
“Together we have over 100 years’ combined experience in negotiating with the IMF,” the former head of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) said in an exclusive interview with JIS News.
“I myself have 20 years of experience in negotiating with the IMF, the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Hon. Derick Latibeaudiere has over 25 years, and others on the team – Ms. Darlene Morrison, Ms. Audrey Anderson and Mr. John Robinson – are also very experienced,” he explained.
Ms. Darlene Morrison is a senior manager in the Ministry of Finance, while Ms. Audrey Anderson is senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, and Mr. John Robinson is Division Chief of Research at the BOJ.
Dr. Hughes, who in 1980 was one of the three top-notch Jamaican economists who authored a major critique of the IMF, based on the Jamaican experience of the 1970s, said the IMF is very respectful of the expertise of the Jamaican negotiating team.
“In the corridors of the IMF, Jamaica’s history with the IMF is very well-known and I get a sense that they are very sensitive to our case and don’t want to go back to the troubled relationship we had in the past,” he observed.
The newly appointed Financial Secretary said he himself knows many of the key officials in the IMF, many of whom moved up in the ranks over the years. “Our team members are no strangers to them,” he noted.
Dr. Hughes said the IMF has undergone an “intense self-critique” and analysis of past actions, and are determined to do things differently, today.
He said that, for example, in crafting the 2009/10 Supplementary Estimates, the IMF was very strong in its support of the Government’s efforts to assist the most vulnerable members of society and to protect social programmes.
The IMF, Dr. Hughes said, has “recognised that some of the criticisms made about them in the past – that they were too dogmatic and overbearing – are true and they want to make a break with the past.”
The administrative head of the Ministry of Finance said that in his negotiations with the IMF, he appreciated the IMF’s point of view, and that the Fund also has a keen appreciation of Jamaica’s point of view. He said that the negotiations have been proceeding respectfully and with mutual understanding.
The IMF wants “a new lease on life” and is concerned about its perception as an inflexible institution which micromanages, Dr. Hughes stated.
“I think they too want a good agreement with Jamaica, mindful of their history with us and local sensitivities to which they are quite attuned. They monitor everything which is written about them here,” Dr. Hughes added.

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