Less money, more problems

Half a millions dollars! It’s a staggering figure, the amount every man, woman and child in Jamaica owes towards the national debt of $991 billion. Dr. Damien King, Senior Research Fellow with CaPRI (Caribbean Policy Research Institute) delivered the bad news to Neville, myself and our viewers this morning just before the National Budget Presentation in Parliament.

In a private research study conducted by CaPRI, Dr. King and his colleagues determined that primary cause of this debt figure was “contingent” or “off budget” liabilities. In simple terms, the Government took on debt that was not its own, among them FINSAC and Air Jamaica being the most notable. So, where will the money come from to cover this debt? Taxation? Dr. King notes taxes and tax reform are a smaller part of the solution. Increased production and growth, thereby reducing the size of the debt relative to the value of output in the economy needs to be part of the overall strategy. We only scratched the surface of the issue in our fascinating discussion with Dr. King and hope to have him back soon to elaborate further.

Certainly, there are some hard working Jamaicans contributing to the country’s economic growth, some of which have been nominated for the Observer Business Leader Award (great segway I thought). Glen Christian, Chairman, CEO and Founder of Cari-Med Ltd., told of his captivating journey from a poor country boy with no shoes to the helm of Caribbean's leading distributor of pharmaceuticals and fast moving consumer goods. Joining him was Andrew Price, Brand Communication and Promotion Manager with sponsors, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. The 2007 winner will be announced at a grand gala ceremony on Thursday, April, 3 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Another hard working Jamaican entrepreneur, Candice Vernon stopped by the set. Her debut short film, Apartment 309, which features rapper cum actor, Ice-T, will air on TVJ on Sunday, April 13. For more on the film, visit: http://www.myspace.com/apefilms.

NCB Mandeville will be hosting a Community Expo at its new branch this weekend. The booths, the food, the fun – the story was told by Charmaine Wright, NCB’s corporate and media affairs officer and Winston Lawson, NCB Mandeville Branch Manager.

10 Minutes to Your Health: Dr. Roger Irving, Consultant Cardio Thoracic Surgeon, UHWI and Simone Hull, Public Relations Specialist, Scotia bank, both made an impassioned appeal for support of fundraising efforts in aid of securing critical equipment necessary for heart attack and stroke patients.

Pet Vibes: Dr. Stacey Ann Smith of Phoenix Veterinary Centre offered tips on having cats as pets.

Entertainment was provided by Stefanotto. Young, bright and talented, this Martinique native travelled to Jamaica to make authentic reggae beats. He is working with John “Ehze” Prescod and making the rounds, touring the island with numerous performances. Check him out at: http://www.myspace.com/stefanotto

Next scheduled appearance: Thursday, April 3

Every Child Lost Is A Tragedy

Happy Holy Thursday