International Monetary Fund (IMF) Senior Resident Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Gene Leon, has said that his organisation is always willing and able to assist the people and Government o Jamaica.
He said that Jamaica is one of 187 countries that are members of the IMF and part of the organisation’s obligation to its members is to provide support when needed.
Dr. Leon’s comments came during his address at a Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) luncheon forum held on Saturday (Nov. 26) at the Grand Palladium Hotel in Hanover under the theme: ‘Jamaica at the Crossroads.”
Responding to questions about the status of the existing agreement between Jamaica and the IMF, and whether or not it could be re-negotiated, the IMF representative explained that the agreement actually ends in December, so it could not be re-negotiated at this stage.
“In essence, by next month, the scheduled period for review of the programme would literally have come to a close, so when you talk about re-negotiating…I can’t talk about re-negotiating something that is supposed to finish next month,” he stated.
He informed however, that new negotiations can begin next year dependent on the request of the people and Government of Jamaica. Those negotiations, he said, could involve, requesting an extension of the arrangement that is coming to a close, among other things.
“What we can say is that the IMF went into the programme with a view to assisting the Government and the people of Jamaica on addressing the problems that were confronting the country as of January/February 2010, and so consequently, at the end of this period, we will still be willing and able to engage and assist, if asked,” he stated.
Dr. Leon argued that the economic problems that the country is facing should not be the concern of the Government alone, but of the entire nation, and that there ought to be a united effort in overcoming the challenges.
He expressed the view that Jamaica is at a crossroads, and the country “can either chose to do something or they can chose to do nothing. Every challenge presents an opportunity, but how you manage that opportunity is an exercise in choice, and that choice is either one of action or one of inaction, but it is a choice nonetheless.”