• JIS News

    Representatives of the World Bank have indicated their intentions to bring a team of financial specialists to Jamaica to examine and discuss new approaches to handling Jamaica’s debt challenges.
    That team will look at a series of options after completing analysis of the country’s financial situation in consultation with the government. The financial sector specialists will put together a proposal addressing some of the issues and debt concerns raised by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
    The undertaking was given today when Prime Minister Bruce Golding along with Finance Minister Audley Shaw, Minister without Portfolio Don Wehby and other government officials, met with a delegation from the World Bank with responsibilities for Latin America and the Caribbean Region. The World Bank delegation was led by the Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mrs. Pamela Cox.
    Prime Minister Golding outlined a number of areas which were challenged by the lack of financial resources. Of special concern, Mr. Golding said, are the areas of education and the PATH programme. He said the government had attached high priority to education. ‘If we don’t train people, our chances for development are dismal’, he said. To this end, he said, government had attached high priority to tackling that problem and has placed special emphasis on early childhood education to ensure that children at an early age are equipped to learn.
    Another concern raised by the Prime Minister was the treatment of Jamaica’s debt in the context of the global financial framework. Mr Golding said the multi-lateral financial system needs to respond to problems that face countries like Jamaica . ‘We want to canvas the World Bank on this as more than 50% of our budget goes into debt servicing and only 18% of the actual budget goes into addressing the critical needs of the country. He said Jamaica is suffering from a prolonged period of containment adjustment and that people needed to be convinced that the policies being pursued by government will provide relief . ‘The challenge is not only to do what’s right, but what’s credible’.
    The World Bank representatives noted that the needs are tremendous, but that the Bank is anxious and willing to assist. Mrs. Cox said that with the appointment of a new World Bank President, the financial institution is now adopting new approaches to assist Caricom countries as many of them are experiencing the same problems of debt consuming much of their financial resources.
    A team from the World Bank will visit Jamaica at a later date to examine various mechanisms to address the matter of debt management.
    The visiting World Bank team has been in Jamaica since Monday and will leave the island tomorrow after visiting a number of projects funded by the bank.. These include visits to the Green Park school in Sandy Bay, Clarendon, Sandy Bay Health Centre, and the HIV/AIDS project sites in Kingston.

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