Jamaica’s burden of debt and crime

| 15/11/2009

(Economist): Just over two years ago when Bruce Golding’s Labour Party came to power in Jamaica, ending 18 years in opposition, there were modest hopes that it might make progress in tackling the island’s endemic problems of economic stagnation and gang violence. Quite how hard that is has become clear in the past fortnight with the departure first of the central-bank governor and then the police chief. Golding’s people inherited a huge national debt, much of it borrowed in the markets at interest rates that have sometimes topped 20%. Just servicing this eats up about 60% of government revenues. The world recession has hit tourism, bauxite and remittances from Jamaicans abroad, the island’s three big foreign-exchange earners.

(Economist): Just over two years ago when Bruce Golding’s Labour Party came to power in Jamaica, ending 18 years in opposition, there were modest hopes that it might make progress in tacklingthe island’s endemic problems of economic stagnation and gang violence. Quite how hard that is has become clear in the past fortnight with the departure first of the central-bank governor and then the police chief. Golding’s people inherited a huge national debt, much of it borrowed in the markets at interest rates that have sometimes topped 20%. Just servicing this eats up about 60% of government revenues. The world recession has hit tourism, bauxite and remittances from Jamaicans abroad, the island’s three big foreign-exchange earners.

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