|PNP group wants gov't to re-examine economic model
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
THE Patriots, a group of young professionals affiliated to the governing People's National Party (PNP) yesterday called for a re-examination of the administration's low-inflation economic model, citing mixed achievement after a decade of implementation.
At the same time the group has acknowledged the deficiencies of the current local government system and has applauded the imminent municipality model for Portmore, involving the direct election of a mayor.
"We have followed the economic model for 10 years (and) the world has changed," Ohene Blake, deputy chairman of the Patriots told reporters yesterday during a press briefing at the PNP's headquarters in Kingston. "Therefore the Patriots stand unreservedly in calling for the (re)examination of the economic model and a continuous (re) examination."
"The model has certainly given some of the benefits which it was put in place to deliver, a relatively stable foreign exchange system and low inflation. Those benefits have been delivered", asserted Blake.
"However", he added "there are other elements of the model which need examination and therefore we would not give uncritical support (to the model)."
"The Patriots' spokesman invited other groups such as academia, the opposition and private sector to present economic models for examination alongside the prevailing muddle so that the administration and the nation can make a decision on the best set of policies for the development of the Jamaican economy.
The group also announced that starting on February 20, it would stage a series of forums on economic issues involving members of civil society and government. According to the group's chairman, Donovan Nelson, the forums will address issues including investment and production options for the country, expansion of the tax net and a rethinking of the approach to taxation, diversification of the tourism product, youth development and welfare, national/regional security.
Nelson also said the young professionals planned to support the PNP in the upcoming local government elections, including the provision of candidates.
"We see local government as a critical element in the structure of how the country organises itself," said Nelson. "We recognise, however, that the current local government arrangement has not brought the requisite efficiencies required for modernisation..."
In noting the new local government system to be introduced in Portmore, the chairman of the Patriots suggested that the process would be enhanced by a system of continuous education and consultation.
"This is necessary," he said " to ensure that the citizens regard this as an opportunity to establish themselves as a primary player in the decision-making process affecting their community and the running of the country".