November 21, 2019

The Editor speaks: Jamaica Independence Day

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Colin Wilson

Today our Jamaican neighbours are celebrating their independence from the UK. Congratulations.

It has taken fiftyseven years to nearly reach a milestone of sixty. It hasn’t been a pretty road but at long last there are good signs for this country.

PM Andrew Holness, in his Independence Address, says,”we have much to be thankful for:

◙ The lowest unemployment rate in our history at 7.8% and youth unemployment fell by 6 percent.

◙ The annual inflation rate is low and stable at 4.2% and the consumer price index is trending downwards.

◙ Our credit ratings are positive, and our foreign exchange reserves are at historically high levels.

◙ We have had record breaking tourist arrivals for the last two years exceeding 4.3 million visitors with an 8.6% increase in earnings for the industry.

◙ The deposit interest rate is at 3.2%, which is a record low.

◙ Our Stock Market continues to perform well, and the consumer and business confidence indices remain high. These are always good indicators of economic health.

◙ The construction industry is seeing sustained growth, right across Jamaica and particularly in Kingston where we see new construction projects going up at a pace not seen in recent times. And the NHT is providing housing solutions for new homeowners like never in its history.”.

He also said there are many positive things “happening in Jamaica right now. There is much to celebrate on our 57th birthday.”

He did mention some of the concerns but left out the main one CRIME, excepting for “corruption”. I am talking about the shootings, the murders and the gangs.

Jamaica is still on the US Travel Advisory List at Level 2 “Exercise Increased Caution.”

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Emergency services vary throughout the island, and response times may vary from U.S. standards. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to areas listed below, from using public buses, and from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night. “

The Advisory list the places of concern.

Not that any of this seems to have stopped US visitors visiting Jamaica. It still wins many of the Travel Awards.

What would have happened to Cayman if we had joined Jamaica fiftyseven years ago? We were up to then a dependency of Jamaica.

I had to ask my wife that question as she is Caymanain with her roots going back to the first two families – the Boddens and Watlers.

There is no doubt in her mind that we have been served far better under the British Crown.

Will we one day go it alone? I expect so. But the time is not right just now. And it still might take a long time. Maybe a VERY long time….

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