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blasts Gov't at political meeting
George Henry, Gleaner Writer
Clarendon: OPPOSITION SPOKES-MAN on Finance and Deputy Leader
of the Jamaica Labour Party, Audley Shaw, has lambasted Minister
of Finance Dr. Omar Davies, saying he was not telling the
nation the real truth about the inflation rate in Jamaica.
thousands of green-clad, bell-ringing, whistle-blowing Labourites
inside a packed Mandeville Bus Park at the final public meeting
in Manchester before the Local Government elections, Tuesday
night, Mr. Shaw accused the Finance Minister of lying to the
people of Jamaica.
say to Omar Davies tonight, stop telling lies to the people
of Jamaica. We don't believe you, because we are living the
real life out here. When we go to the supermarket, we are
experiencing the real situation."
Shaw told the huge crowd, which could be compared with any
of those during the campaign leading up to last October's
general election, that arguments by Dr. Davies that the rate
of inflation had only increased by six per cent were false.
pointed out that contrary to the minister's argument, basic
food items have been increased by between 35 and 50 per cent.
AND PRICE HIKES
Shaw stated that the increase in prices on food items, as
well as other things, was due mainly to Dr. Davies' own admitted
indiscretion in order to win the fourth term.
order to win the fourth term for the PNP, they made reckless
and careless decisions that cause the country pain today and
has caused the government to increase taxes on all of us,"
said the Opposition Finance spokesman.
Shaw also blamed the increase in prices on the continued slide
in the Jamaican dollar and hinted that the dollar will never
be stable under the present PNP administration.
noted that talks by members of the government that the dollar
has now been stabilised was a lie and that such arguments
were simply just being used as an election ploy.
Shaw predicted that following the Local Government elections,
the Jamaican dollar would continue its slide heaping even
more price increases on the Jamaican consumers.
this election, the dollar is going to take off like a Concorde,
leaving the Norman Manley Airport.
reason why the dollar is going to take off is because the
only way that you can stabilise it, is to attract investments
into Jamaica to earn foreign exchange. If that is done, then
you will be able to stabilise the dollar," Shaw said.
said continued borrowings by government, which causes an increase
in taxes to be forced on the people of Jamaica, could not
be used as any means of bringing stability to the rate of
RATES, MORE INVESTMENTS
further stated that the only way the government would be able
to attract investments into the island was if there was a
reduction in the rate of interest being charged on loans,
and according to him, there was no sign that this would be
a reality in the near future because under the watch of the
current Governor of the Bank of Jamaica and the Minister of
Finance, interest rates continue to show huge increases.
Shaw also chided the minister of Finance for allowing the
Students Loan Bureau to increase the rate of interest charged
on loans acquired for furthering their education some years
noted that he has evidence that persons who have received
loans from the Bureau from as far back as 1996 have been served
with letters informing them that their monthly payments have
been increased by more than 50 per cent, placing more burden
on their ability to repay and such a move is a depressive
Shaw attributed such moves by the government to bad management,
corruption and waste in public expenditure.
Opposition spokesman also accused the government of using
public funds to pay for advertisements in the newspaper to
on the behalf of the Peoples National Party.
I say to Portia, tell me if this is fair. I say come Portia,
ah going to draw your tongue tonight. You tell me if this
is fair. And Portia and Prime Minister Patterson you tell
me, if in the middle of an election campaign, you should be
using taxpayer's money to talk about Local Government. To
put a five minute commercial on television and in newspapers
the Ministry of Local Government. It cannot be fair, it cannot
be right. You are using taxpayer's money to campaign for the
People's National Party. Do you have no shame?"
also accused Prime Minister Patterson of deliberately allowing
the elections to come without him
disclosing the contents of the report on the number of consultants
employed to the government, how many are former Members of
Parliament, how many
former ministers of government and how much pay they are receiving.
said he has been reliably informed that the Prime Minister
has the final report, which he received from
Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davies, several weeks ago but he has
refused to make it public.
Shaw stated that the Prime Minister was refusing to make the
contents of the report public, because it was not looking
good, stating that it was showing waste, extravagance and
corruption in the extreme.