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    Head of the Debt Management Unit in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Pamella McLaren, has urged United Kingdom-based Jamaicans to invest in Government of Jamaica (GoJ) securities.
    Mrs. McLaren was speaking at the Jamaica National Building Society’s (JNBS) Outlook for the Future forum on the Jamaican Economy in Birmingham and London over the weekend.
    She told the meetings that Jamaicans in the Diaspora should look at Government securities as another form of investment in the island.
    “On a monthly basis, the Government of Jamaica issues securities to the market to investors, where ordinary people can buy these papers and you get high interest rates. I would encourage the Diaspora to invest in Jamaica, and this is another form of investment for you, even as small as a £100. We have never defaulted on debt, so your funds are secure and you are assured that you will be paid at the time of due date,” she said.
    In addition, she said that preliminary discussions have started on the issue of a special Diaspora Bond. The special Diaspora Bond was first mooted at the inaugural Jamaica Diaspora Conference, in Kingston in 2004. In addition, Mrs. McLaren said the Bond would fund a specific area of development, and that the Diaspora would be able to have an input into the specific area to be funded by the Bond.
    “We have been having discussions particularly with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where we are looking at doing a Diaspora Bond. This is an opportunity for you, the Diaspora, to put your stamp on the economic development of Jamaica. We are in the pre-primary stages of discussion, we have not structured anything as yet, but I am sure that you have a view on areas where you would like to see improvement, so we can structure that bond to target that area. We want to have dialogue on that with you, and this could be your way of participating in the development of Jamaica,” she said.
    Mrs. McLaren told the meetings that while the country was heavily indebted, the Government was pursuing a debt management strategy aimed at securing low cost funding. She said the initiative of the Government to re-engage with the international multi-national institutions has resulted in significant support for the country.
    “This has allowed us to secure low cost funding and it has given us some fiscal space to deal with the necessary social services,” she added.

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