MONTEGO BAY, St James — Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke is upbeat that Jamaica, which has enjoyed international fame in the music and sporting arenas, is now becoming world renown for its economic performance.
“It is a good thing that Jamaica has been known, over many decades, for the prowess that we exhibit in sports and in athletics, and for the talent that we display in music and for the attractiveness of our culture. But, ladies and gentlemen, Jamaica is being known around the world today for its economy, and that is a very powerful thing. We have been embarking on the policies and procedures to ensure that that continues for a long time,” Clarke said at the third annual Mayor’s Charity Ball hosted by the St James Municipal Corporation at S Hotel Conference Centre on Godfrey Dyer Boulevard in Montego Bay Saturday night.
Pointing to the Jamaica Stock Exchange being named by Bloomberg as the number one performing Stock Exchange in the world, Clarke said he was sure many Jamaicans were proud to see the national flag placed atop the New York Stock Exchange building in the United States recently in honour of that recognition.
Dr Clarke also told the Montego Bay business community that “without external sustainability, your ability to conduct business as you know it today would be compromised”.
“So in the same way that you implore the Government to ensure that we pursue policies that are sustainable as regards to debt, it is in your interest to also ensure that your central bank and your Government pursue a path that maintains external sustainability,” the finance minister stated.
He took a swipe at detractors who are proposing the use of funds from the Net Internal Reserves to stabilise the exchange rate.
“The fastest way to lose external sustainability is to misuse the reserves in your Central Bank. There are some who would want reserves to be used to ensure that the exchange rate doesn’t move; that would be a misuse of your reserves and that would be inimical to your interest,” Dr Clarke said.
Montego Bay Mayor Councillor Homer Davis, thanked sponsors of the event over the three years, and noted that proceeds from the ball had been used to bring joy to more than 2,000 children and others last year.
“Through the Mayor’s Charity Ball we have been able to reach out in a very tangible way to our children, the elderly, the shut-ins, the residents of St James Infirmary and other vulnerable groups. I am pleased to announce that the funds from the 2018 Mayor’s Charity Ball assisted greatly in us staging Christmas treats for over 2,000 children in our five constituencies of the parish of St James. We have also delivered gift packages to over 700 elderly and needy citizens across the parish,” Councillor Davis disclosed.