IFABJ: Transportation (Policy)

I just wanted to do a very short post on Transportation Sector policy.

First, I think we put too much power in the hands of a single human being. Ministers should provide guidance, but we should build institutions that can work independently of ‘political’ or ‘electoral’ concerns. Bus franchises should be determined by independent criteria and have nothing to do with knowing or getting the favour of a minister. A set of rules should define how everyone works and not a person.

Everyone has probably heard about Mike Henry’s multi-modal approach to the Transportation Sector. Best idea I have ever heard. Let us do that! This is not a vision that can be realised overnight (and I have some suggestions for changes) but we are now four years behind the plan. If you allow yourself to be completely honest, you know that we were on the right path before 2011.

Owning a car is expensive- not just for the owner but for the country. They increase our fuel bill, cause massive congestion and are the leading causes of accidents. In high-density areas they are an absolute nightmare to park. I think we should build a mass transportation system that makes owning a car unnecessary- and then apply policies that encourage a reduction in car usage. One follows the other.

Here are some ways we can use policy and fees to get the ‘right’ cars on our roads:

  • Make emission management a motor vehicle fitness requirement. No more vehicles that by themselves could do vector control for mosquitoes.
  • Cars that consume more gas should have a higher duty than the average car while cars that consume less gas than the average car have a lower duty. Change the dynamic of duties from just engine size to kilometers per litre as certified by a trusted international ratings institution.
  • Car registration fees escalate based on age. Therefore, owning a brand new car is cheaper to register than a five year old car. A five year old car is cheaper to register than a ten year old car. A twenty year old car? Unaffordable. This same escalation by age is used by Insurance companies (which I think is bogus but…) and as a policy direction it sends the right signal about the kind of cars we want on our roads.
  • Revamp the SCT on fuel. The SCT on fuel should be used for two things only- 1) maintain the public road network and 2) fund the public transportation budget. Therefore drivers are sharing the cost of the JUTC directly with bus passengers- but paying the lion share. The Transportation Ministry would therefore be funded through traffic fines, registration/fitness fees and the SCT. You want to weane the Ministry of Transportation off the consolidated fund and allow them to break even. If they treated this Ministry like a business whose primary concern is to make life better for its customers- they would start being more efficient instead of entitled.
  • Like Bruce Golding and Andrew Holness suggested, outsource non-core aspects of the fitness certification process. It is cheaper to enforce the rules that it is to manage a certification system end to end. Find at least one (but you can find more) certified garage per parish that can inspect motor vehicles for their fitness. Take that bureaucracy off the books. Spend physical resources (which could be 5% of the staff hired currently) to ensure no one is cheating or being corrupt. The private sector is just better at some things that others.

I haven’t even touched the ‘Works’ part of the Ministry- or the myriad of other aspects that ministry has taken on in this recent iteration of government. However, these are some ideas, all of which are within our capacity to do right now, that can revamp our Transport sector.

Finally- why don’t we have a full highway ring around the island yet? Jamaicans don’t live in St Thomas?

IFABJ: Public Transportation (Buses)

The JUTC is playing by their own rules. Success for them has nothing to do with the rest of us. They aim to reduce the amount they take from the consolidated fund and if possible break even- or at least come in below the lofty cost projections of the Ministry of Finance. Despite the fall in fuel prices they still draw down from the conslidated fund, constantly change their goal post for cost containment and have yet to break even. The JUTC has failed us.

My vision for the JUTC: provide such a safe, reliable and affordable transportation solution that the average Jamaican, regardless of parish or income, wants to take buses instead of feeling a ‘need’ to own a car. Therefore, they are providing a service for all Jamaicans and make owning a car an unnecessary luxury. You can set your watch on the reliability of our public transportation system.

How can this vision be realized?

Step 1: Expand the franchise bus system and make it more integrated

– All public passenger vehicles that are the size of a minibus and above, once plying a public route (and not being chartered) should be registered by the JUTC. Franchise routes are to be distributed evenly across the island and the cost should properly reflect administrative costs of the following:

  1. GPS Tracker for all franchise buses
  2. Cost to paint buses “regulation Yellow” to signal to commuters whether the bus is legal. (This yellow should be hard to copy and immediately apparent. Maybe it doesn’t have to be yellow)
  3. Cost to install a speed limiter preventing buses from exceeding the highest speed limit on the route.
  4. Administrative and licensing fees associated with integrating bus in the Control Centre (more on this later.)
  5. Cost of monthly random spot checks for each bus. The Revenue Assurance team (more on this later) would check driver documentation and also whether installed systems were tampered with.

– Each bus that services a public route should have access to prepaid fuel rations at the JUTC depot. The rations are based on calculations of average (mean) gas consumption during route operating hours taking into account traffic and frequent stoppages. Buses are allowed very strict limits, but it would be worth getting because the discount on current fuel rates would be significant (JUTC gets their gas cheaper than average Jamaican drivers.) The JUTC can charge an administrative premium on the gas and still fall below prices at normal gas stations.

– In addition to subscribing to service a route, buses subscribe to service a time slot during the day. An example would be: in the morning the JUTC determines which buses work the routes at specific times to ensure that during peak hours commuters have a five minute delay between buses and a 20 minute delay in off-peak hours. The forecasted arrival times would then be posted at each bus stop. This can be digital and shielded by unbreakable glass- or it can be paper based.

Step 2: Set-up a fully staffed Command Centre for Bus Route Operations

– Using GPS and 3G Technology all buses registered to the JUTC should be monitored by a centralised control centre. The centre fulfills the following functions:

  • Track buses
  • Communicate with drivers about traffic updates
  • Tracks buses vital statistics as conveyed by “black box” on all public (and franchise) buses
  • Communicates with police/fire/ambulance when emergencies arise
  • Makes decisions on expanding or contracting unplanned route or time assignments

– The command centre monitors traffic across the island, not just Kingston. Buses that operate on routes illegally are fair game and can be impounded by the police

– The centre uses statistical modeling and forecasting to ensure that franchises get a fair mix of peak and off-peak operating times. JUTC buses are used to traverse particularly unattractive routes (routes and/or times that have few franchise subscriptions) as well as to serve inter-parish routes. The idea is that it would cost more for JUTC to send it’s own bus on the road than it would for them to coordinate a franchise bus from the command centre AND JUTC is still a public service. Cost Reduction > Revenue Generation

What makes the Command Centre transformational is the fact that JUTC always knows exactly where all public buses are located, verifies whether route times are being maintained and applies the necessary corrective actions to ensure commuters get their buses on time.

Step 3: Use Smart-City Technology to deploy Smart Bus Stops

– Deploy RFID tags at each bus stop that “checks in” buses and creates a running log of bus location, duration at the stop and log-in time relative to forecast

– Use smart analytics to find patterns between bus check-in, driver receipts per stop and duration at stop to make more accurate forecasting models on the number of buses needed at a particular time on a particular route.

– Post through Google Maps as well as JUTC’s website comprehensive route and location data as well as efficiency and forecast accuracy metrics to keep the public informed and hold the system accountable.

– Analysis of the data can accurately show the relative value of routes and times as well as the cost to service those routes by the JUTC directly versus the cost to only support the route remotely. This would be important during the annual route and time bidding process.

Changing the Operating Model

The JUTC’s stretch financial target should be to break even, while the realistic target should be positive cash flow. However, the true goal should be aligned to serving customers- and not to serving a budget. The budget is determined by the customer’s needs- not the other way around.

Revenue Assurance should be a core function and ought to be augmented. More surveillance of both owned and franchised buses, quality control to achieve Six Sigma, Mystery Customer Route surveys and complaints management should be headed by a single division with broad powers. Drivers for both the JUTC and Franchises should be thoroughly screened and a probationary period maintained for evaluation. There should be zero tolerance for theft, tampering with speed limiter or GPS as well as working outside of assigned routes and times. The public should be encouraged to report instances of drivers picking up or dropping off passengers outside of assigned routes as well as generally unsafe driving. A lottery can be established across the system to reward customers who submit their tickets weekly/monthly to win regular and valuable prizes. This way people have a compelling reason to demand their ticket from drivers conductors.

The cashless model should not be abandoned, but it needs to be integrated in the franchise system. The minimum fare requirement to top-up a smarter card should be two adult rides. Additionally, the JUTC should achieve parity of fares across the island, for all owned and franchised buses. At every opportunity the JUTC should seek to lower fares across the island- and this can only be achieved through getting closer to Six Sigma level efficiency. There should not be a duplication of bus stations, bus parks or bus policy – one system.

The JUTC needs to care more about cost reduction than revenue generation. It is a cost centre and not a profit centre. The JUTC should continue to compete with private buses for charter services and seek creative ways to generate revenue but never compromise the vision.

Oh- and stop buying buses that are too big for our roads…

Summing it all up

I currently drive- but if I could use Google Maps to find an appropriate bus stop (like I can in Atlanta, London, New York, Miami etc.) and get a comfortable bus to get around during week days, then driving would be a weekend activity. Smart technology and big data analytics can create the kind of bus system we all want. While the data does the heavy lifting the JUTC fulfills the support function of keeping everyone disciplined and honest. In a few years when posts in the JUTC are available, I would love to be a technocrat tasked with making this vision a reality within a single election cycle (cause that’s how long things in government have to work.)

Do You Feel Sorry for the JUTC

On Wednesday August 20, the Minister of Transport and Works announced that bus fares will be increased for all passenger categories. This was done, he admitted to Nationwide News, without any prior consultation of any affected stakeholders.

There are so many angles to this one. We can look at how all of a sudden power to increase fares is concentrated in the political directorate without any requirement for consultation. We can also look at the justification the JUTC provided for the fare increase and the formula they use to come up with the magic number. I am tackling the latter.

Read this article on why the JUTC says they need an increase. Then let us discuss it.

Exhibit A

Roper said the economic cost of approximately $110 for each commuter, without concession, does not include meeting operational costs such as purchasing of spare parts and buses. He explained that this is why another $10 has been tagged on to bring the total to $120.

The JUTC chairman said if the provision of spare parts and maintenance of the buses were taken into consideration, it would cost the JUTC management an estimated $560 per ride to keep the units on the road.

“When the operational costs are deducted, we can live with $110 and put the $10 down as replacement costs at last year’s fuel cost,” said Roper.

The economic cost of a bus ride, per passenger is allegedly J$110 but does not include spare parts. Adding J$10 to the above stated number takes care of allocations for spare parts and buying buses. However, in the same breath, if you take into account spare parts and maintenance, each bus ride per passenger would cost J$560. However, they can live with making 21% of the actual economic costs.

This kind of nonsense accounting is why Jamaicans must reject the fare increase. The JUTC clearly needs the auditor general to return to help them identify the true cost of transporting passengers throughout the KMTR. We have no assurance that next year they won’t try to increase fares again with a view to getting closer to that estimated $560 economic cost. We see a lot on the revenue side, but we have not seen any action on the cost reduction side. They have not yet made a case to us- and why should they- no consultation required.

Exhibit B

Roper revealed that the JUTC is expected to save $412 million a year with the introduction of a cashless system on September 1, 2014

He suggested that when the JUTC converts fully from cash to cashless, it would exclude bank charges; security and courier services, as well as leakages and cashiers that would no longer be need to be employed.

“We are looking at all of these efficiencies, including encouraging the elderly, who are being subsidised, to travel during off-peak hours, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when we carry a substantially reduced passenger load,” said Roper.

JUTC is banking on a change in culture to realize savings of 34m per month. I have worked in telecoms for the past decade and know first hand that Jamaicans prefer prepaid. Not only do we love prepaid, but we are most likely to top–up the minimum amount. Therefore, until Digicel introduced $108 cards people would generally top-up with $100. LIME experienced a massive surge in usage when they introduced $100 and $50 data plans. So many people do not have bank accounts or credit cards- because cash is king. You can’t defend a bank tax on one hand saying the most vulnerable do not have bank accounts, but try to force them to adopt a middle-class pseudo post-paid lifestyle.

Do you remember JUTC’s big push to take over all the profitable routes? Do we have a report from the company on the change in revenues since that action was taken? (Spoiler Alert: No)

People do not take the bus because they like the ride, they are using it as a means to an end. Therefore, encouraging seniors (for whom you have tripled doubled the fare) to travel from 10a to 2p AND use a Smarter Card makes NO sense.


In closing I want to share thoughts expressed by the National Consumer League which at it’s core outlines why a seemingly annualized increase in bus fares is not justifiable. Bear in mind that Civil Servants are under wage freezes (called wage restraint) and the dollar still has more sliding to do according to the IMF Christine Lagarde.

It is time to demand greater transparency. Demand that the JUTC cuts costs and gets creative. Demand that the government offers us something for something- not simply a free 20% increase which by their own admission is not enough to break even.

Isn’t this where we draw the line?

Transparency Local – Goat Islands Edition

Yesterday I posted what should have been a mass media bombshell.

On August 5 the Jamaica Government (secretly, my best guess) signed an agreement with China Harbour effectively handing over Goat Islands. Only Government media house JIS was invited to the event. JIS (accidentally) released the story, which Jamaica Observer published online. Then, before the middle of the day the Observer story vanished. I dug up the story and reposted it.


The reason this should have been a bomb is because it alleges that our Government sold a natural resource without telling us, their employers, the terms. Furthermore, they promised not to sell Goat Island until a series of consultations took place. If you can’t recall the steps, this is what Omar Davies said in Parliament on February 25, 2014:


11. There are a number of issues which will need to be addressed prior to signing a
Binding and Definitive Framework Agreement. These include the following:

  • Land Issues – Acquisition of lands currently owned by the UDC and The
    Ministry of Agriculture (Agro-Invest and Innswood Estates)
  • Taxes and Incentives – Taking into account the imminent repeal of the Freezone
    Act in 2015 and pending decisions regarding the treatment of Commercial
    Economic Zones
  • Citizenship – review applicable laws, policy and procedure in light of possible
    request for citizenship from investors within the Project area.
  • Coal – fired electricity generating plant: Given the high cost of electricity in
    Jamaica, CHEC proposes to establish its own coal-fired generating plant to
    provide lower cost electricity for the project.

It was a long speech but sections 11 and 12 were particularly contentious. Somehow, these issues were worked out, without the rest of us knowing and now the agreement has been signed. The Chinese will be building their own COAL fired power-plant. I encourage you to read the entire speech at the link posted above.


Since I tweeted the cached story a few things have occurred. JLP’s Andrew Wheatley posed some questions to the Minister of Transport and Works about the issue. He, like the rest of us, sought clarification on what actually took place on August 5 at Jamaica House.


Dr. Omar Davies had an interview with Cliff Hughes on Nationwide Radio where he was asked about the issue. You can listen to it from timestamp 15:39 to 19:57.


Then this is what the Minister of Information posted. It isn’t a retraction but a clarification.

Somehow this does not seem very…transparent. The truth seems to be very economically utilized. Here are some follow-up questions I would love to have answered:

  • When the story was published and then pulled JIS contacted the media major media houses asking them to yank the story – with no replacement story or retraction. What was the reason JIS gave for asking the media houses to pull down the story.
  • Why did it take a full news day before any kind of clarification was given?
  • Was the non-binding agreement signed in China? Was it signed there with the PM and the CHEC principals present? Why would it need to be signed again?
  • Explain to us how CHEC would use a non-binding agreement as a marketing tool for potential investors, without any kind of assurance that the project will proceed.
  • Produce the documents signed by the CHEC principals at Jamaica House on August 5, 2014 for public scrutiny.
  • Declare who is conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment and whether they have any ties to the government. If they do, then we need an independent EIA to be conducted.
  • If this was so innocuous, why was the media first excluded, then asked to pull the story, then asked to contend with conflicting accounts of what happened? Why not invite the media to the event and state up front what is taking place.

The story we are being given does not add up. It is time to do the math and find the truth.

China Harbour to begin work at Portland Bight

Source: Jamaica Observer

Minister of Transport, Works, Dr Omar Davies (second right) looks on as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Professor Gordon Shirley (left), and General Manager of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), Zhongdong Tang, exchange signed copies of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Portland Bight development project. The signing took place during a ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday (August 5). At second left is Chairman of CHEC, Wehe Mo. (Photo:JIS)



KINGSTON, Jamaica — Phase One of the Portland Bight development project will now get underway following the signing of the final Framework Agreement between the Jamaican Government and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The document was signed during a ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday (August 5).

The project seeks to establish a transshipment hub in the Portland Bight, and works in this initial phase will include the development of an industrial park and infrastructure for the operation of the hub.

Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr Omar Davies, who was among the signatories, expressed appreciation to CHEC for its confidence in the future of Jamaica, noting that there are other destinations in which the company could have chosen to invest.

“I believe that this is a significant day in the social and economic development of Jamaica,” said Davis.

Chairman of CHEC, Wehe Mo, said the signing was not only a significant development in the progress of the project “but also a meaningful milestone of further strengthening the partnership between the Jamaican Government and our company”.

“We are proud that we could help create strength and prosperity for Jamaica and its people through our abundant engineering experience and outstanding technical skill sets,” he said.

Under the first phase, the industrial park will carry out the operations associated with storage, assembling and packaging of goods in light industries; heavy industry manufacturing; information technology; and skills training.

The infrastructure to be developed include: bridges and roads within the project area; pipelines and water storage facilities; sewer lines and sewer treatment facilities; electricity transmission lines and electricity generation facilities; cable transmission lines; and similar services and facilities contemplated for the project.

Other areas include dredging and land reclamation activities to create the port, and suitable access channel to the port facility; construction and development of a container terminal with modern fittings, technology and services; and the construction and development of berths of sufficient width, length and depth to accommodate Super Post Panamax vessels.

There will also be the construction of a coal-fired electricity generation plant for the supply of electricity to the facilities comprising the project.

The project, which is being implemented by the Port Authority of Jamaica, forms part of Government’s proposed Global Logistics Hub Initiative, and is expected to create 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, and 10,000 jobs when the project is fully implemented.

It aims to take advantage of the anticipated increase in trade activities as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled for completion by 2015.

Ideas for a Better Jamaica (IBJ)

I tend to be a bit of an activist sometimes. Though my family and close friends know how I vote (and I do vote, everyone should) I tend to stay relatively neutral in public. I applaud when the government does (not just says) something right, I applaud when the Opposition asks the questions I am not ‘big enough’ to ask and hit everyone on the knuckles when they get careless. However, it is only too obvious that once you declare for the “wrong side” everything you say is met with smug dismissal. Political victimization is a real challenge and unfortunately our democracy does not appear to be mature enough for truly open discourse.


I want to share my thoughts on citizenship and what I think being Jamaican should mean. The hope is that we can begin to think, in a non-partisan way, of what our rights and entitlements are. When you declare that you are a Jamaican it should mean more than being born here. It should mean that there is a basic quality of life that you can access, beyond which your hard, smart and honest work will allow you to be better than basic. I call this series “Ideas for a Better Jamaica”.


I aim to share ideas on citizenship as it relates to the following:

  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Health Care
  • Crime and Justice
  • Education
  • Economy
  • Local Government
  • Energy


In our current political climate it is easy to forget that our government serves at our behest. However, if we are not clear on what our rights are, or what their job description entails, it is easy fall into the trap of accepting whatever they tell us. It is important to be sceptical. Feel free to share in my scepticism as we explore ideas on what good governance could look like.

Mainstream Media

Finally- a word on the work of the ‘guardians of our democracy’. Our traditional media has failed us. They can no longer be trusted to speak truth to power. They are too cozy with the political and business elite, too willing to lull the masses into acceptance of our current reality.

We are ranked 17 in Press Freedom but 83 in Corruption Perception. This is an indictment on the Press and they should feel some sense of shame. How can they feel proud of enjoying freedom to find the truth while clearly turning a blind eye to that truth?

The media has a moral responsibility to help us to understand the facts. When the two political parties present different views of our economic reality, the media should be able to tell us which is right. I can single out Nationwide News as being ahead of the curve when it comes to giving us the closest version of journalistic integrity.

Consider this news item. Local Government Minister Noel Arscott, deflecting criticisms of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, says the previous government had not procured a single fire truck during its term. Nationwide posted a strong refutation from the previous Mayor of Kingston. However, it is framed as “his word against mine”. Someone is telling the truth and the other person is lying. They both CANNOT be right. The liar must be exposed and then silenced.

Sometimes there are flashes of brilliance, but these flashes are with under-funded media entities and occur too infrequently. It is hard to be a journalist (not to be confused with news carrier) and hope to survive through advertising and endorsement. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Consequently in addition to this series I will occasionally highlight a news article from our print media and do a critique.


Local Government elections are due next year, and the year immediately afterwards should be Central Government elections. It is time to write the job descriptions of our Members of Parliament, Parish Councillors, Ministers of Government and our Media Practitioners. We are their ultimate customer/employer.


I have to applaud the government on their recent achievements. I call them achievements because, well, if you had a set of objectives and you got them- then you achieved, right? It doesn’t matter here and now whether they were the right goals to achieve.

This Government was swept into power during a Standby Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF, a stable exchange rate, low inflation and interest rates and modest economic growth that was similar to that achieved in the US. They idled for about a year, allowing that deal to expire. They then pursued an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to give them a fresh four years. Well played! The gamble they made is that in Jamaica we are only concerned with the short term. Therefore, the ~40bn tax package would soon be forgotten when a fresh and more current reality/crisis emerges. Well played again!

There are many sides to this story- all of which I will eventually ventilate- but I want to spend some time talking about the difference between a Standby Arrangement and an Extended Fund Facility. They are not the same.

Standby Arrangement

In 2009 the Jamaica Government (JLP) sought assistance from the IMF for Balance of Payment support. They wanted a SBA for U$1.2bn that would help plug a hole in the economy and allow for time to establish a platform for sustainable growth. This article brings back some fond memories of how Jamaican politicians can sometimes make tough but correct decisions.

How the SBA works is that the IMF makes funds available to us, based on the targets we agree to, ( to ensure they can get repaid) and then we are free to do what we feel is best. If we end up not wanting all the money- we don’t have to take it. However, if we want it, we just have to keep passing the economic tests and ‘unlocking’ more funds- kinda like a video game. The beauty of this, is that the IMF can’t tell us what to do. They can say to us- please ensure that you achieve stability in your exchange rate- then Jamaica does what it feels is best to achieve that.

Now, there were some points of diversion in the agreement. The facility was meant to last two years (2010 to 2012) and have an unlocking process along the way. Jamaica and the IMF agreed that to meet the next economic hurdle to unlock more funds a few things had to be in place:

  1. Tax Reform
  2. Pension Reform (so the Government stops carrying that bill forward- like a defined contribution plan)
  3. Public Sector Reform (reduce the size of the public sector and define a formula that will be used to determine the rate of wage increase based on the performance of the economy)

There was always energy reform- but the government had the LNG project in train- so that wasn’t a major show stopper.

The government was able to access U$800m from the total loan amount but did not implement the remaining three reforms that would have made the final U$400m available. Why not? This, this and this. You would be surprised at how destabilizing an activity of that magnitude is to a small country like ours. The now Government would have lambasted the then Opposition for being Enemies of the State in their attempt to derail the government.

The last I’ll say about the SBA is that it seemed to have been the right path for Jamaica. All the economic indicators from the 2011-12 financial year show that we were making great strides. We were not over though- we needed to solve those other elements, get the remaining U$400 and then start achieving Vision 2030.

Extended Fund Facility

Unfortunately, today’s blog is too long, but I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t talk about the EFF. I only recently realized the grand scheme of the Government. It makes me wonder if I live in the same country that did the gas riots- because this is something to protest about.

EFF has a longer duration than SBA and works similar to what Jamaica had in the 1990s under Michael Manley and PJ Patterson. This is where the IMF not only lends us the money but dictates how we spend it. This is called “Structural Reform” and is not a feature of SBA.

Therefore, when Min of Fin, Agent Peter Phillips said that he has no choice but to triple tax Jamaicans and raid the NHT- I now believe him. He has negotiated us into a deal that gives us few options for self-determination.

Watch the DVD Life+Debt if you want a quick review of the Structural Reforms of the 1990s. (Disclaimer: In the video below you will see a note about SBA in 1977- that isn’t the deal Manley put us in during the 1990s.)

Crying over Spilled Milk

Q. Did we have to reach this path?

A. No

Q. How could this have been avoided?

A. Implement Tax Reform, Pension Reform and Public Sector Reform in early 2012 and receive the U$400m draw down to maintain the positive effects of the programme that led to growth in 2011-12. (In some circles the shorter answer would have been to give the JLP a 2nd term.)

Q. Do we have other choices?

A. Not really. After this extensive delay we are now in a crisis. However, the reforms are still necessary- and perhaps even more so.

The rub? The PNP continues to demonstrate their expertise at negotiating borrowing agreements for Jamaica. Let us learn from history.