Government has Duty to Protect Those who have been Careful with their Money – Prime Minister


Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that while the Government is not responsible for the personal investment choices of citizens, it has a duty to protect those who have been careful with their money.
“I believe in reducing government’s intrusiveness as far as possible, therefore if somebody wants to go and take out his money out of his bank account and give it to someone who is going to the races at Caymanas, the government must not get involved, that’s his business,” Mr. Golding said at a meeting with representatives of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Financial Services Commission at Jamaica House yesterday (Oct. 10). Mr. Golding said what was of concern to the government is determining where the activities of such individuals entrusting their finances in a risky manner created contagion. “Where that threshold is, is what I am concerned with. I am not sure the government should necessarily intervene between a citizen and his money, but I have a duty to ensure that people who husbanded their money carefully, don’t get hurt,” he emphasized. Prime Minister Golding expressed the view that the issue of how commercial banks could be affected, in terms of credit being offered to persons, who then use it for such investments, should be looked at more closely by the Ministry and the FSC, along with bodies such as the Bank of Jamaica, and the Bankers Association. He added that the sector needs to be more receptive to small investors, because if a way could be found to bring informal investments into a framework, the figure for gross savings in the country “could be significantly different”.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon. Audley Shaw, said there is no question that there are fairly consistent reflows in the system that help to mask the impact of unregulated alternative investment schemes. Mr. Shaw said that according to his sources, such reflows are in the order of $70 million per month.
Minister Shaw and Ministers without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, Don Wehby, and Senator Dwight Nelson, are scheduled to meet with representatives of the Jamaica Stock Exchange tomorrow, to formulate a plan of action on the way forward.
Participating in the meeting were: Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Patricia Sinclair-McCalla, General Manager of Jamaica Central Securities Depository, Robin Levy; Deputy Chairman of the JSE, Leo Williams; Deputy Executive Director of the FSC, George Roper; General Manager of the JSE, Marlene Street-Forrest; Chairman of the JSE, Curtis Martin; and Chairman of M-VL Stockbrokers Limited, Edwin McKie.

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