Jamaica PM tells G7 that ‘upper middle-income’ status hurting development

Prime Minister Andrew Holness being greeted by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, after arriving at the G7 Summit. (PHOTO: OPM)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has used his historic address at the meeting of the G-7 Group of countries in Canada to again highlight the disadvantage small island developing states (SIDS) like Jamaica are placed at, when they are classified as upper middle income countries based on their Gross National Income.

According to Holness, the situation is compounded when such countries, which are vulnerable to climate change, attempt to recover from natural disasters.

He told the meeting that the classification “severely impacts their eligibility for access to certain sources of funding primarily in the reconstruction and recovery phase of the disaster management cycle.”

“We continue to emphasize the need to review financing policies so that true investments can be made,” he told the leaders of the world’s richest countries.

The Prime Minister added that even as we take responsibility, and while initiatives have begun to yield some measurable benefits, “we need cooperation and partnerships with countries like the G7, to address some of our challenges.”

In this regard, he pointed to the high public debt and the lack of fiscal space to invest in climate change adaptation measures, and developing resilient public infrastructure, which are features of SIDS. Such states he said “can ill-afford to borrow funds for disaster recovery, and investment in resilience building.”

Holness also pointed to what he described as the insufficient capacity among SIDS to access global funding windows, such as the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund. And he called for support in SIDS accessing appropriate risk transfer mechanisms to support recovery at the national and community level.

“Ultimately our answers could lie in partnerships with countries like the G7, through trade and investment and technology transfers, as well as creative solutions to debt and risk, which support economic growth,” he told the world leaders.

“It is ultimately sustainable growth which will empower us to ensure prosperity for our people, while taking care of our oceans and seas and land environment,” he stated.

In his address, Holness argued that there are no forces with greater capacity to transform the lives of millions, from poverty to prosperity, than the forces of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

“Yet, Jamaica and the Caribbean have struggled with low levels of economic growth and high debt, made worse by the ravaging effects of climate change on our islands which are situated in the midst of great bodies of water.

“Our challenges with growth and high debt, have constrained our ability to effectively and sustainably exploit the vast resources and potential that exist in our surrounding oceans and seas.  We also have not been able to effectively respond to the threats emanating from our oceans and seas, such as rising sea levels, and the stronger hurricanes carried over ever warming waters,” he said.

Holness further argued that SIDS like the countries of the Caribbean need to be empowered to take charge of their development and prosperity, through economic growth rather than debt, while being good stewards of our environment.

This, he said will undoubtedly require enlightened thinking and partnerships, as already recognized by each and every country which has signed on to Agenda 2030.

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  1. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    June 13, 2018

    If you had any integrity left Rayburn, your department would have employed a Therapist and a Licensed Social Worker to work with youthful offenders. Your government would have already completed such a facility, designed to house and care for youthful offenders. This idea has been floating around since I was a student at Grammar School. To date, nothing has been done and nothing will be done in the immediate future.

  2. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    June 13, 2018

    Andrew is a fraud, pure and simple. Here’s a man who constructed a US$20,000,000.00 home that is still incomplete and he talks this foolishness at the G7. Small Island Developing States still function like a plantation style outfit where a few high profile citizens enjoys the largess that the country has to offer, while little investment occurs in areas that need it the most. Dominica is no exception either.

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