Jamaica to have debt talks with the World Bank

KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 31, 2008 – The Jamaica government is expected to get some help from the World Bank to reposition the country’s debt.

A team of financial specialists from the Bank are due to visit the island to examine and discuss new approaches to handling the debt challenges.

The team will analyse the country’s financial situation in consultation with the government and put together a proposal addressing some of the issues raised by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

The Jamaican leader has raised concerns about the treatment of Jamaica’s debt in the context of the global financial framework.

He has suggested that the multi-lateral financial system needs to respond to problems that face countries like Jamaica.

“We want to canvas the World Bank on this as more than 50% of our budget goes into debt servicing and only 18% of the actual budget goes into addressing the critical needs of the country,” he said.

Golding added that Jamaica is suffering from a prolonged period of containment adjustment and people need to be convinced that the policies being pursued by government will provide relief.

“The challenge is not only to do what’s right, but what’s credible,” he contended.

Among the areas which the Prime Minister said are challenged by the lack of financial resource, is the provision of education.

 “If we don’t train people, our chances for development are dismal,” he said, adding that his administration placed high priority on education.

He said his government has therefore put special emphasis on early childhood education to ensure that children at an early age are equipped to learn.