Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Jamaicans- In the midst of world economic turmoil

As the concerns of global financial and economic stability continue to fragment with talks in the United States on the economic package bailout, one cannot help but reflect on the Jamaican economy. From the standpoint of a poor Jamaican, one wonders how, or if the Jamaican economy will withstand this financial turmoil. One remains optimistic that the market will rebound, as the repercussions would be great for many in our nation. Stating the obvious; it would be extremely difficult on poor and low-income Jamaicans, because the gaps with regards to income are so wide between the rich and the poor. This would threaten our economic stability in the island because the poor are already hurting financially. Our poor and low income families will suffer as a direct effect from this economic crisis. According to Scott, Robert H III in the September, 2007 Journal of Economic Issues entitled Credit Markets for the Poor. He stated that worldwide there are an estimated three billion poor, and we know that there are many Jamaicans included here. It beg s the question of what can the government do to help ease the economic hardship on poor, low-income Jamaicans. My answer to that is, very little. The change need to start with us as individuals.


These times require lifestyle changes and in many cases tightening of our financial belts to prepare for the worst. To help us alleviate some of these financial difficulties, citizens of Jamaica are charged with the responsibility of taking care of our financial future. We have to actively promote the utilization of home grown products and less reliance on government’s help. Mr. Shaw and Prime Minister Golding and community leaders need to encourage all Jamaicans to utilize our local skills, farmers, shoemakers’ dressmakers and so forth. Everyone needs to get involved in the process. To achieve this goal, we as Jamaicans have to learn to live within our means and eat what we produce. We may have to go back to basics by utilizing the local services of our Dressmakers, Taylors and so forth. Less emphasis should be placed on the purchasing of designer goods. The emphasis should be on setting a little money aside for rainy days and be hopeful that the rainy days come later rather than earlier. This will in effect give us a little time to build on our savings and reinvent ourselves. One may also ask where poor Jamaicans will get money to save. The answer is simple; life style changes. One has to change with the times, because global economic environment is changing. Theses are difficult times and difficult times calls for drastic measures. The underlying effect is that we as a nation need to do things differently. The solution may be in the planting of more yams, cassavas, potatoes or whatever can be grown locally and offer a significant divergence from imported products. The truth of the matter is that in general most economists do not honestly know what turn the economy will take, so we need to start to seriously look at LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCTS. If you have a backyard, start planting, so we can eat what we produce. The Government of Jamaica is not the answer to our economic crisis. It begins with us. I understand that many people will disagree with me, but this is my opinion.

About the author

Sherry Southe