Government giving consideration to a proposal of land for the NHT $45B withdrawal ?

The Government is currently giving serious consideration to a suggestion that has been made to provide the NHT with land in exchange for the planned $45b withdrawal from the trust. This would allow the NHT to contribute to the national debt problems and still meet its mandate  in terms of the provision of housing solutions to the people of Jamaica.

This move sounds similar to a proposal made by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding in a article in the Jamaica Observer today.  Should this become a reality, it would be proof that once the people of Jamaica becomes more involved in governance of the country, we can force changes in the way thing are done.

It is also proof that there is never ” no alternatives” and we should never buy into the notion that Government knows  all and what is best for the country and also that, dissenting views are not about “derailing or sabotaging” the government.

We await the final decision by the government, but so far I am encouraged by the action of Jamaicans and also by the fact that the GOJ APPEARS to have recognized it has erred and is attempting to correct that wrong.

Peter says ” No housing for 11,000 poor Jamaicans” and they applauded

Now I am really going to be cheeky here.

Over the weekend the Minister of Financial Ruin ( Sorry Finance) announced at a rally for comrades, that  there are persons out there who does not have the interest of the country at heart and are trying to derail or sabotage the IMF program. He went on to further  suggest that he will NOT be stopped and he will pulling out all the stops to take the NHT contributors money,  because it was essential to the success of the IMF agreement.

He said he will be willing to take a bill to parliament to amend the NHT act to make what would have been an illegal act, now legal.

There was thunderous applause to this by those in attendance.

Now Peter had just told them the following .

  1. I don’t care what you all think and say, I am going to get that money.
  2. You may have to pay higher interest rate on existing loans and I know things are tough with you all, but I don’t give a damn, I am going to take the money anyway.
  3. Your refunds, which you would normally get after 7 yrs of payment, you may no longer be able to get, but I don’t care I am going to take the money anyway.
  4. Approx 11,000 poor and middle-income Jamaica will not get any houses over the next 4 yrs, but I don’t care, I am going to take the money anyway.
  5. You employed us to make tough decisions,  you all bawled for this agreement, this is  your sacrifice to national development, the $45b is good for Jamaica

Sometimes its not what you do , but how you go about doing it.

The JLP we were told,  was faced with the exact same issues in 2009 and went after the funds, but were told by then Solicitor General that it was an illegal act and they abandoned the idea.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/JLP-did-not-raid-the-NHT–says-Chang

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130226/lead/lead6.html

Mr High and Mighty “Bragadocious” will not listen and  has decided that based on “sound legal” advice, there was nothing preventing him from taking the money. This advise we presume came from the offices of the attorney general, who himself is a member of the very party he is seeking to advise.

The JLP had changed this after the dudus affair, because it was the right thing to do and here comes along he PNP to revert to what was proven to be an untidy state of affair.

Now it turns out that the AG advise was not so “sound and legal” after all and so the Minister of Finance has gone to parliament to rush through a amendment to the bill in record time.

This no doubt is proof that the government can move at a fast pace if they so desire and its SHAMEFUL that after 3 yrs ” ANTI -GANG and DNA LEGISLATION” are still in limbo, even though the entire country ( or do they), believe that these pieces of legislation can put a serious dent in crime conviction and subsequent reduction.

NO ALTERNATIVES.

Once one says there are  no other alternatives, we have effectively ensured that none exist, simply because we have closed our minds to the other possibilities and so we will not find any such alternatives that may exist.

Former PM Bruce Golding who has remained quiet for the most part has stepped into the fray and provided an alternative to the ” no alternative” path that has been presented. While I have not delved too much into what he has said , I will present it here without comment for the readers.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/That–44-billion-NHT–contribution-_13733759

Has this issue been politicized, certainly, that is the nature of the Jamaican environment. The issue has become one of those issues where illegal vs legal action has given way to one of , those against the move are trying to sabotage the government and are JLP activist. Mind you some maybe, but its a dangerous thing to suggest, if you disagree then you are an ” enemy of the state”.

The debate has now moved from the main issue which is one of a legal issue to one where the for and against are based on party affiliation. 😦

Courtesy: Jamaica Gleaner

Senior cops killed, 3 days after stumbling on major guns for drugs trade ?

Retired SSP Boyd was  reportedly killed on Sunday in the Queensborough area of St Andrew just three days after stumbling on a major guns for drug trade on the Portmore Causeway. We have learnt that the trade had been shifting from Portland  & St Thomas  to this area of St Catherine.

The additional information we have received is also troubling and if true,  would suggest that we have a worse problem than any of us could have ever imagined.

Mr Commissioner, I suggest you personally address this one and dig deep sir, because we cannot allow this type of a situation to continue in this country.

It is one of the very reasons for the code of silence here in Jamaica.

THE NDX PROGRAM, WHAT’S NEXT? Part 3

The final part, take a close look at the date folks of the first post.

 

Originally posted on February 1, 2010 by jay | Edit

The Next Step

It is highly likely that the Jamaican dollar will come under pressure since the earnings on US$ denominated instruments, were not affected by the debt swap program.  This will occur after existing bonds have matured and government seeks to replace these with new bonds.
It is therefore prudent that the government take immediate steps to reduce the demand for foreign exchange by doing the following.

Imported oil currently accounts for the largest use of foreign exchange in the country, and while the bauxite industry shutdown has saved us billions, we have not come up with a way to decide if we are better off with that industry being closed Vs being opened.

It is therefore prudent that the government take immediate steps to reduce the demand for foreign exchange by doing the following.

  1. Institute a 5-yr. ban on all motor cars, pickups etc with a gasoline engine whose size exceeds 3000cc.
  2. A similar 5yr ban should be placed on pickups, cars, minibus with a diesel engine size greater than 4.7L.
  3. Ban all heavy duty trucks equipment with an engine size greater than 8.0L.
  4. Restrict import license on agricultural imports on items such as carrots, Irish potato, tomato, ginger, etc for a period of 5yrs. How I see this working is importers will be given a quota, which should be the difference between what we are producing locally and the demand for the produce plus an additional 15-20% which would take care of things like drought or a natural disaster. We have to be very creative here so we do not violate any WTO rules.
  5. Provide duty free concession for all renewable energy products.
  6. Use savings from oil to provide incentive for company’s to manufacturer solar water heaters, solar electric panels and other manufacturing process that seeks to bring energy saving products to the market.7. Stipulate that manufacturers and large commercial complex substitute 10% of their energy usage by using renewable or energy saving technologies by the year 2015. This means that over the next 5 years manufacturers, commercial building etc will seek to replace
  7. 10% of existing energy consumption with the use of renewable or other energy saving products.
  8.  Investigate Geo thermal plants at Rockfort, Milk River bath in clarendon and Bath fountain area in St Thomas.
  9.  Companies who meets this mandate will be provided with certain tax relief on the investments required in order to achieve the level of energy efficiencies attained. That is if a company had to invest say $10m to retrofit their operations to become an energy complaint or “green plant/business” then they can claim over the next 5 years tax write off which is equivalent to a portion of their investment which was used to gain compliance. They would off course would be subject to an energy audit by the Governmental inspectors, which would be setup to ensure compliance. Too often in Jamaica we make these offering to business only to see them claim write off for “investment” which never made its way into the business itself.

The tax write off should be on a graduated scale for example, if renewable or energy retrofit equate to the stipulated 10% that has been set out, then the company can claim up to 40% of what they spent.
If they achieved say 30-40% savings using renewable or other energy conservation technology, they can claim up to a maximum of 90% of what they spend over a five year period.

We have dug ourselves into a hole and we now need to find a way out, before its too late.

THE NDX PROGRAM, WHATS NEXT? Part 2

Part 2 of JDX PROGRAM

First posted on February 1, 2010 by jay | Edit

If Jamaica is to get out of the economic malaise that it has found itself in, then the IMF loan, the JDX program and increased taxes must be part of a bigger plan, and that’s were the link is missing i.e. the “bigger plan”.

A few analyst have made it clear that the country will suffer long term from this latest move and that pension funds as well as security dealers etc are going be negatively impacted.
I have reviewed the situation myself and thought how is this any different from the financial meltdown in the 1990′s. Is it not the same dumb policies that got us in trouble now, had us in trouble back then.
Was it not high interest rate, a propensity to invest in papers, plus tying up of long-term assets, which were being used to meet short-term liabilities. As with the pension fund it’s a little different as in this case its, long-term liabilities being funded with short to medium term assets.

Banks, near banks, securities dealers and pension fund administration really learned very little from what occurred in the 1990′s and if it was not for very strict rules that were implemented by the FSC, many of these institutions would have failed once again.

The Jamaican experience with Cash Plus, Olint, Lewfam, Swiss Cash, Worldwise, Mininvestment, Capital Blu, Forex Millionaire Club, May Daisy, CARIEF and all the other high investment yield products was a disaster.

Jamaicans home and abroad collectively lost over $150B (my estimate) from these paper shuffling ponzis, despite the fact that the interest rate they advised (10-15% per month) was ridiculous and could NOT have been achieved by any stretch of imagination.

So between the financial crises in the 1990′s and the Ponzi bust up in late 2007 (I did not even consider Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers) Jamaicans have racked up losses of close to $300b, over the last 20 years!!

It therefore is proof that an economy cannot grow simply by shuffling paper around, and neither can it grown when you freeze wages and raise taxes.
It is therefore very clear to me that what needs to be happening, is we need to improve our ability to manufacture and export, while reducing imports.

THE NDX PROGRAM, WHAT’S NEXT ?

Back in 2010 after JDX1 (Since NDX is really JDX#2),  I wrote three blog entries, I am now only going to change the dates and copy and paste exactly what I wrote back then, here goes.

Originally posted on February 1, 2010 by jay | Edit

So the government of Jamaica has got the banks, securities dealers and other persons holding GOJ Debt instruments to agree to a debt swap.
The GOJ with their back against the wall virtually forced holders of debt to accept the debt swap or face the risk of loss of principal or higher taxes on income interest.

While the banks have been the unwilling bride, they have all agreed and we are left to see how will they react, seeing that over the years they have grown their balance sheet by gouging themselves on GOJ papers.
It was reported that pensioners are likely to be significantly affected, and there is even talk of Jamaica losing “face” on the international market as a result of its actions.

The question is what were the alternatives available to the government and is this best of the worst of all the choices.
Nothing is life is without a downside, and thus the downside of this is people will not earn as much as they had expected in the short term.
Banks and near banks will no doubt use their creativity to extract more from the its willing customers, who refuse to rebuff the advances of the banks when it come to the funds in their accounts.

I say that because the banks has sought to add new charges, increase present cost for the services it provides, without offering any significant improvement in the service it offers.
It is therefore up to the consumer to start treating the services of the bank as they would do any other service sector or product.
Consumers need to take a very close look at their accounts, and work out the cost of doing business with these banks.
We need to make sure we are getting value for money, and don’t be shy to change banks if they continue to charge high fees without offering any new value for the money they are asking from you.

The two major commercial banks made collectively $22 Billions dollars in profit in 2009, despite we being in the biggest recession this country has ever seen, so don’t think they are not planning to improve on this performance this year.

The JDX has recently come under fire from certain sectors of the financial world as well as political commentators, and as usually the case in Jamaica very few have offered an alternative.
Scotia as well as other banks have since sought to get from government a commitment to reduce waste and be financially responsible with the potential wind fall it is about to receive.

I have stated in a previously article that the borrowing from the IMF alone will not cure Jamaica’s problem and neither will the JDX, so one is left to ask what is the long term plan.

Where is the plan with clearly defined steps that will seek to reduce our dependence on borrowing over the next 15- 20yrs?
It is presumed that the JDX will result in banks lowering their borrowing rates, which will in turn be passed unto the borrowing public including business.
Even though this seems logical, our banks have over the years been very reluctant to lower their loan rates as they seek to gouge more and more out of the public at every opportunity they get, and I suspect this will be the same this time around

Is CAPI Chairman, Dennis Meadows an Enemy of the State ?

In addressing comrades at a meeting over the weekend, Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips said  something to the effect ” There are persons out there, who wants to take us to the courts over the withdrawal of the NHT funds, but I will do everything in my power to make it happen. There are persons out there who are trying to derail and or sabotage the pending deal, between the GOJ and the IMF and the question must be asked, if they are working in the interest of the Jamaican people”.

Dr Peter Phillips no doubt was referring to CAPI lead person Dennis Meadows and just stop short of labeling him as an ” enemy of the state”.

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