2014/2015 Budget Debate Presentation Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Mr. Audley Shaw

Story Highlights

  • The overall annual Unemployment rate is at a 12-year high at 15.3 percent for 2013.
  • Unemployment among young people age 20-24 is 35.2 percent but among young women it is even higher at 44.1 percent at October 2013.
  • The cost of electricity continues to increase apace closing down more businesses, putting more people out of work.

Introduction

A British Army officer was assigned the arduous task of visiting a battlefield to check on reports of heavy troop losses.

Upon his return, he reported to his superiors:

“Gentlemen, I’m afraid the situation is so grave that it is virtually impossible for me to exaggerate…. But I will try.”

 

Today, in reporting to this Parliament on the ‘State of the Nation’, there is no need for me to exaggerate.

Honourable members can be assured that whatever observations I make will be well grounded in the incontrovertible truth.

It will be supported by facts, by real life, everyday experiences. Listeners will be obliged to receive the information in either loud or

quiet agreement.

Any denial to the contrary, will be a contrivance, a fabrication by persons either in self-denial or with their heads buried in the proverbial sand of political expediency.

 

STATE OF THE NATION

 

Mr Speaker, as I participate in this Budget Debate today, the question must be asked, what is the true state of the nation?

Over the past two years and four months of the administration of this government, the condition of the lives of the citizens of Jamaica has sharply worsened.

  • The overall annual Unemployment rate is at a 12-year high at 15.3 percent for 2013.
  • Unemployment among young people age 20-24 is 35.2 percent but among young women it is even higher at 44.1 percent at October 2013.
  • The cost of living has sharply increased due to a 27 percent devaluation of the Jamaican dollar against the United States dollar moving from J$86.60 to US$1 at the end of 2011 to J$110 to 1 US dollar now.
  • The price of chicken back and basic foods have flown to unreachable heights while oxtail and steak are now delicacies no longer promised in the public square (and it was not promised by us.) Mr. Speaker, the fact is by even the most conservative assessment of prices of basic foods one would find that the prices have increased at 2 times the rate of the official inflation.  This is certainly not balancing the people’s lives Madam Prime Minister.
  • The cost of electricity continues to increase apace closing down more businesses, putting more people out of work and causing more disconnections of service and sending families to steal electricity or resort to the home-sweet-home lamps. In March, our light bills have been further increased by another 10 percent – one lick! And as we speak, the JPS has applied to the OUR for a 21 percent increase and even as they promise a 2-8 percent reduction to large industrial users in return, small businesses will be called upon to pay 15 percent more for electricity, further eroding their competitiveness…READ MORE

Download 2014/2015 Budget Debate Presentation by the Opposition Spokesman on Finance 

 

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