MAY 6, 2002
AUDLEY SHAW, MP
TRANSCRIPT OF LIVE SESSION
(May 6, 2002 7:18:54 PM)
If the politicians were sincere about the people and the country.........implement
the reforms to the constitution and let the international community
observe the transition...please respond.........thank you
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:18:54 PM)
It is easy to put the blame on the constitution rather than on the
politicians. My position is simple. It is always healthy to look
at changes to the constitution or the system but if politicians
are hell-bent on disregarding the system then none will work and
the case of NHDC and Mr. Blythe is a classic example of a flagrant
disregard of the established rules laid down by his own cabinet.
(May 6, 2002 7:23:31 PM)
What new policies would the JLP impose if they were to go into power...especially
in the financial sector?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:23:31 PM)
The key policy issues in the financial sector relate first to a
credibly strategy to manage our every increasing stock of debt which
now consume 64% of the budget. We have proposed a creative mixture
of new policies, which will radically reduce the cost of borrowing
money from overseas. These include accessing funds from sources
such as Japan, non-traditional multi-lateral sources such as Asian
and European Development Bank and most importantly from Jamaicans
overseas. We also plan to renegotiate our by-lateral debt and place
government companies on the local stock market to attract investment
from Jamaicans at home and abroad. The key is interest rate must
fall to competitive world standards.
(May 6, 2002 7:25:16 PM)
Do you think the style of politics practiced now in Jamaica will
help or hinder the progress of the people and the country? ...Please
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:25:16 PM)
I think the style of politics must be modified to become much more
issue oriented where the electorate is able to focus on the critical
issues of policy surrounding education, the economy, job creation
and quality of life.
(May 6, 2002 7:27:10 PM)
Isn't it true that Edward Seaga's financial austerity programs were
unpopular with Jamaicans in the late '80s? What would be different
this time around?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:27:10 PM)
In the 1980s a structural adjustment programme was put in place
to make industry export oriented and competitive this was achieved.
Between 1986-1990 the Jamaican economy grew by an annual average
of 5.5% and 30,000 new jobs were being created each year.
(May 6, 2002 7:31:13 PM)
How different will the JLP economic policy from the present government
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:31:13 PM)
The JLP will create a climate that will investor friendly This will
include competitive interest rates of 8-14% and a sharp reduction
in the bureaucratic maze that presently exists in Jamaica. In the
scenario our people will be able to get good quality permanent jobs
once again. At present the unemployment figures do not convey the
full extent of our employment problems. The fact is that literally
hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans are in a severe state of under-employment
and many in subsistence-employment a prescription for poverty.
Question (May 6, 2002 7:32:39 PM)
What do u think about JLP chance in the next election?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:32:40 PM)
Excellent. The people have had 13 years of mediocrity, jobless,
closures and downsizing. It is time to grow and create wealth once
(May 6, 2002 7:37:55 PM)
Mr. Shaw, what is your opinion on the Government proposal to use
the poor people pension fund to fund a part of project highway 2000?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:37:55 PM)
The use of pension funds for projects such as these is not unique
to Jamaica. However, it is important that limits are placed on the
extent of exposure of these funds to long-term projects of this
nature. In the case of the National Insurance Funds steps must be
taken to ensure a more prudence mix of investments to guarantee
(May 6, 2002 7:40:41 PM)
Mr. Shaw, do you really think the JLP can make a difference?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:40:41 PM)
Yes. The JLP in 1960s presided over annual average growth of 6%.
In 1971 under the JLP we grew by 12%. In the 1980s after seven consecutive
years of minus 0% growth or negative growth under the PNP, the JLP
once again restore the economy to healthy economic growth as mentioned
previously. Therefore, judge us by our previous performance and
the consistency of policy positions.
(May 6, 2002 7:41:29 PM)
hello Mr. Shaw what are the Jamaica labor party doing to the government
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:41:29 PM)
We are doing our job as a responsible opposition.
(May 6, 2002 7:44:18 PM)
Does the JLP has a different plan to woo foreign investor than the
present government and what is that please
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:44:18 PM)
Yes. In order to successfully woo foreign investors we have to convince
them that we have conditions in Jamaica which will make it favourably
for them to invest and locate here, These include competitive interest
rates, reasonable utility cost, reduced security cost due to reduce
crime rate, an advance educational system that prepare our people
world of work and significantly reduce red tape and bureaucracy.
(May 6, 2002 7:47:24 PM)
Mr. Shaw, can u tell me what the government is doing about unemployment
in your country as it has become a major problem
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:47:24 PM)
Unemployment is seen as the number one issue facing the people this
time. Over the past six years over 50,000 jobs have been lost in
manufacturing sector and these have been replaced by mere subsistent
jobs with people selling cigarette and ice-mints on the corner.
Job creation has been a dismal failure of this administration and
is the number one issue in addition to crime that faces the JLP
government. But we understand that jobs can only come from incremental
private sector investments, which we will generate.
(May 6, 2002 7:51:54 PM)
Mr. Shaw - Where do see Jamaica economy going in the next 5 - 15
yrs. irrespective the governing party
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:51:54 PM)
I prefer to answer it based on a JLP government in power. Under
the JLP we intend to fast track the process of wealth creation by
concentration on three core issues. Education, the economy and justice.
We believe that every child has a right to free education and full
literacy to age 18. We believe that every Jamaican has a right to
an opportunity for decent job whether self employed or with a company
and our society needs to be relative crime free and our security
forces must respect the human rights of every Jamaicans. In all
of these the PNP has failed and therefore another 5-15 years would
forecast a bleak future.
(May 6, 2002 7:55:15 PM)
What will be the focus of the JLP in the first 100 day in office.
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:55:15 PM)
In the first 100 days in office the JLP has to hit the ground running.
In the first instance we will target the debt problem by entering
urgent negotiation with our by-lateral creditors and identify and
creative sources to access cheaper funds as mentioned earlier. The
investment promotion drive as well as the tourism industry will
be targeted aggressively in-order to get the pipeline full of investment
ideas and proposals. Jamaica is like a rocket waiting to take off,
it just require fresh, creative and motivated leadership.
(May 6, 2002 7:57:04 PM)
what is the JLP's position about attracting investments and bringing
multi-national corp. back to the island?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 7:57:04 PM)
This has already been answered in my previous interventions. We
believe that in this increasingly-globalize world economy it is
our duty to establish a level playing field for investors from home
and abroad to feel comfortable about investing here.
(May 6, 2002 8:00:23 PM)
What is the JLP doing to whoo the uncommitted and undecided voters
such as myself? I find it hard to commit in the absence of a plan
that I can confidently buy into.
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:00:23 PM)
Let me answer you this way. The fundamental difference between the
PNP and the JLP is that the PNP believes in poverty alleviation
while the JLP supports wealth creation. This why under the JLP 30,000
new jobs were being created each year. Under the PNP jobs are lost
and they instead seek to hand out a piece of land or a little bolo
roadwork. We believe that sustainable base for wealth creation is
to give the people opportunity and they will create wealth for themselves.
(May 6, 2002 8:03:49 PM)
what can you do differently than the current government is doing
if to be elected in the upcoming election
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:03:49 PM)
The big difference will be the creation of jobs through private
sector led investments. For instance we are now negotiating for
the construction of a minimum 10,000 new hotel rooms for the tourism
sector and the Leader of the Opposition has recently outlined a
new path for the revival of agriculture and agro-industry as well
as the information technology and the manufacturing industry.
(May 6, 2002 8:07:56 PM)
Mr. Shaw, well, I believe that you country need to modify the system
so that Jamaicans can know there constitutional rights. I believe
that if we go in that direction we can't go wrong.
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:07:56 PM)
It is the JLP that put forward proposals for a charter for fundamental
rights and freedom which we propose should deeply entrenched in
the constitution and which cannot be arbitrarily removed as now
exist in section 51 of the constitution. There is no question that
the constitution needs to be amended in order to ensure a more responsive
and accountable government and have lead the way in putting forward
these proposals, which also in include strengthening the power oversight
of parliament including the ability to impeach public officials
for reckless and corrupt use of power.
(May 6, 2002 8:10:58 PM)
what do u say to young people, who r not participating in the up
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:10:58 PM)
I understand your disillusionment but I ask you to examine objectively
the history of the PNP and the JLP while in power. Under the PNP
there has been a tendency for decline, decay and joblessness. Under
the JLP there has been economic growth, job creation and reduced
crime. What Jamaica needs is for genuine continuity from one government
to the next, where we do not take two steps forward and one step
backward? Do not loose hope hold on the democratic system that we
have and participate in the next election. Do not give up that right.
(May 6, 2002 8:13:18 PM)
Jamaica has always been a tourism country, but the violence over
the years has risen, what if elected will the JLP do differently
to bring back some kind of stability to Jamaica and make it a safe
place to go?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:13:18 PM)
After 900 murders in 1980s the JLP created jobs and reduced the
murder rate to 350. Since the PNP has been in power over 50,000
good quality jobs has been lost and the murder rate is now an astonishing
11 hundred and climbing. We need to take away the guns from our
youngmen and give them jobs. Without jobs the devil find work for
(May 6, 2002 8:19:17 PM)
I must say that as a Jamaican, it seems that our political system
isn't growing at all. The parties are full of corrupt politicians
who are out to gain more wealth. There are not thinking about the
taxpayers like myself who are paying them to represents us. We lack
infrastructure that would cause us to see growth. The private sector
then to benefit from any growth, the country on a whole is deteriorating....
elaborate on that. Have you ever been St. Mary? Have you seen that
Port Maria is the poorest Capital in Jamaica?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:19:17 PM)
This why Jamaica must move from the hopeless task of trying to alleviate
poverty with first creating wealth. St. Mary or any other parish
in Jamaica has no reason to be poor. We are endowed with arable
land, with beautiful beaches, and people who have the capacity to
be productive and efficient as any one else in the world. This country
now cries out for new leadership that will allow them to achieve
their highest potential by organizing the society in such a way
that opportunities will abound. We must join together to stamp out
corruption wherever it may exist and we must condemn those who seek
to treat us like fools as Dr. Blythe has down with his ill-advise
demonstration in Savanna-la-mar today.
(May 6, 2002 8:22:38 PM)
Mr. Shaw, what do you think about the crime rate in Jamaica? And
how it has affected the country's economy? Also, how will JLP bring
changes that might affect the crime rate and damages it has brought
to the economy?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:22:38 PM)
This has been answered before. But the key factors must include
lifting up our standards starting from our schools and ensuring
that we have discipline environment in which Jamaicans, foreign
investors, and tourists can feel safe. With this in place the needed
investment will be made and jobs needed will be created. There is
undeniably link between jobs created and reduced crime. The only
truly long term solution to peace and prosperity is job security
and the ability of Jamaicans to feed their families.
(May 6, 2002 8:28:06 PM)
Hello Mr. Shaw. I live in the Chudleigh/Christiana area of Manchester;
the same are that you are from. The roads in the area are absolutely
deplorable. I pass through areas such as Devon, Denham Farm, Mollison,
and lower Christiana among other areas of Manchester. Driving on
these streets is bad enough, walking; especially at night is an
art to be developed, with all the potholes. What plans are there
in place to fix these roads and to restore them to their former
quality of years gone by?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:28:06 PM)
Unfortunately, one of the darker sides of Jamaica politics is victimization
of opposition members. I have demonstrated in questions in parliament
that Honourable Dean Peart while he was in the Ministry of Works
deliberately and consistently awarded the lion's share of funds
to himself, his brother, Mr. Michael Peart, and Mr. John Junor,
the other PNP MPs in Manchester while openly and without shame victimizing
me and the people of North East Manchester. The most recent allocation
in last year's budget of some 170 million dollars saw only 10 million
going to North East Manchester most of which put on the road from
Cross Road to Limit. This is in decent, it is wrong and measures
must be put in place to stop the wanton abuse of power.
(May 6, 2002 8:31:56 PM)
what do u think will happen with Dr Blythe? Do you think he will
be resurrected in a future PNP government?
Mr. Audley Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:31:57 PM)
The Jamaican people have a great capacity to forgive. Dr. Blythe
can be forgiven, but he must first be man enough to admit to his
mistakes, rather than continue on his grand standing while he seeks
to impugn the integrity of the Angus Commission. Dr. Blythe likes
to quote from the bible so let me offer him one. It is from the
book of Micah Chapter 6 verse 8: "What does the Lord require
of us? But to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humble with thy
God." Take that advice.
Shaw (May 6, 2002 8:36:18 PM)
I wish to thank everyone for the sharp and incisive questions asked.
I am only sorry that time did not permit to answer all of them.
I hope to return soon and thank the Gleaner Company for this innovative
idea to interact with Jamaicans at home and abroad. I believe that
Jamaica best years are still ahead of us. We are resilient and I
leave with from the book of Job: "For there is hope of a tree
if it be cut down that it will sprout again and from the tender
branch thereof it shall not cease." I believe that we will
sprout again and achieve our greatest expectations right here in
Jamaica. May God bless you all.