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GO-JAMAICA.COM
MAY 6, 2002
AUDLEY SHAW, MP
TRANSCRIPT OF LIVE SESSION

Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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 respond
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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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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 again.
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Question (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 maximum return.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (May 6, 2002 8:10:58 PM)
what do u say to young people, who r not participating in the up coming election
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.
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Question (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 idle hands.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Question (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.
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Mr. Audley 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.
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