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Mark Golding: ‘Dark days ahead’ for Jamaicans

Opposition Leader Mark Golding on Tuesday warned of “very dark days ahead” for Jamaicans as the $912-billion budget tabled by the Government last week is a fantasy that lacks any real strategy to protect the country from the dangers of the prolonged novel coronavirus pandemic as well as the commercial impact of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

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“Very dark days are ahead for our people. The country is on the brink of a deep crisis, but this budget has very few real solutions. It is clear that this budget was put together without a strategic response to protect Jamaicans from the economic fallout of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Golding said in his contribution to the 2022/2023 budget debate in Parliament.

Ignoring Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s assurances that the Government was “closely monitoring” the developments in Ukraine, and that Jamaica has the wherewithal to withstand the threats that the war posed to the economy, Golding insisted that, “There is nothing in this budget that will give protection to the people who need it most.”

He said, instead, it reminded him of the budget of March 2020, which did not account for the impact of COVID-19 and had to be substantially overhauled by a supplementary budget two months later.

“While the budget is based on a fantasy, the Jamaican people live in reality. They have to face the crisis head on, as they try to feed their families and pay their bills. At this time, reality demands that the Government cushions the crisis and give our people some ease from the heavy burdens,” Golding insisted.

He said that the Government has not protected the people from what they are facing, and has no meaningful provisions to protect them from the onslaught of looming higher prices.

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“We demand that more be done to ease the burdens on the Jamaican people. The minister of finance is more worried about appeasing credit rating agencies and the capital markets than providing relief for the suffering people of Jamaica. The Jamaican people must be our priority.

‘Dark days ahead’  Jamaica Observer

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