by Kavon Fiennes
This report in the Gleaner (link: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130125/business/business5.html) of statements made by Mr Gregory Fisher (Mng Dir, Oppenhemier, Inc.) describing Jamaica’s economic situation and outlook to be more akin to Japan and not Greece; and the Most Hon PM, describing herself as the female “Lula”, has got to be one of most mind boggling reports I have ever read. I think the RightFromYaad blog is just as important as an outlet for us to talk about what ‘nonsense’ is, when we see it.
Ladies and gentlemen, if the statements printed in this Gleaner report have accurately recorded the sentiments of the aforementioned individuals then, please excuse me, I must burst out laughing, and I hope Jamaicans do not take this report as anything but garbage.
Cato Rand (one of our other writers) and I often talk about how we in Jamaica, not knowing the difference between what is ‘up’ or ‘down’, or right from wrong, will take anything said to us as gospel.
Mr. Fisher has come out claiming that Jamaica is more like Japan, and voiced his annoyance at the Greek analogy. I think the similarities between Jamaica and Japan end with both nations’ names beginning with the letters J..A.
Mr. Fisher claims that Jamaica and Japan are suffering from lack of economic growth and high debt to GDP ratios. Whilst that may be true. Japan is a heavily industrialized, manufacturing developed country and we are not. Japan is still the world’s 3rd largest economy, when I last checked. Whereas Japan had the so called lost decade of the 1990’s, we have had lost decades since independence. The Japanese govt is also trying to weaken their currency, the yen; we here are doing everything in our power to keep strengthening our JM dollar!! Go figure.
He also went on to say that both countries are rooted in deep seated traditions. I must agree with him on this one, though he should have qualified his comment by stating that they were NOT the same traditions. For example, Jamaica is a ‘Christian country’, with a ‘freeness’ mentality; and murderous inter-personal relations, having a murder rate of 52 per 100,000. Japan has an indigenous religion called Shintoism, they have a hard work ethic among her citizens, who for the most part are renown for discipline and punctuality; they are also very respectful of life, having a homicide rate of 0.4 per 100,000. The Japanese like Jamaican music, I don’t think we much care for theirs.
“Both countries have governments that truly care about the welfare of its people”…Now let me make sure… Is Mr Fisher referring to the Government of Jamaica based in Kingston, Jamaica as one of the “both”? This could not be the same govt that has a police force killing hundreds of citizens without trial and due process each year (thousands over the past decade). Is this the same govt that has armed gangs into warring factions of orange and green tribes, on both sides of the political divide in the most vulnerable, poor and marginalized communities? The same govt that has been primarily responsible for Jamaica’s current bleak economic situation and widespread poverty amongst her citizens. This could not be the same govt that spends lavishly on themselves and asks the rest of us to prepare for ‘bitter medicine’ and to be ready for sacrifices!…. Wheel and come again Mr. Fisher!
I suspect, Mr. Fisher is either here to sell us ‘snake oil’ or that these comments are to curry favour with the government for a ‘consultancy’ contract with his company.
Let’s look at facts and stats: Jamaica/Greece/Japan
Corruption Perception Index ranking 2012 (transparency.org): 83rd/94th/17th
Ease of Doing Business Ranking 2013 (doingbusiness.org): 90th/78th/24th
Gross Domestic Product 2011 (World Bank): 112th/34th/3rd
Economic Growth for 2011 (CIA Factbook): 1.3/-6.9/-0.8
Lastly Jamaicans, the humility of the Most Hon PM, in referring to herself as the female “Lula” requires no comment from me. I think her statements (or paucity of statements) and actions over the past 13 months (more so the past 2 months) says it all.