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Chicago Tribune Editorial Calls Jamaica “Greece of the Western Hemisphere”

January 8, 2013 | 2:20 pm | Print

Above: Kingston (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica is the “Greece of the Western Hemisphere,” according to an editorial published Tuesday by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

The editorial, subtitled “The Greece of the Western Hemisphere,” said that while Americans have paid more attention to the debt problems in Greece, Jamaica, too shows the problems of excessive debt.

The Caribbean nation actually is in worse financial shape than Greece,” the paper wrote. “Jamaica is an extreme example of the fate that could befall Spain, Italy, Japan or, yes, the U.S., if debt keeps piling up. The analogy only goes so far since those much-larger economies have better resources to manage their finances. Jamaica has few options, apart from beseeching the IMF.”

The paper specifically mentioned Jamaica’s as-yet-unresolved agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

As Caribbean Journal reported last year, a paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that Jamaica had the highest debt interest payments of any country in the world calculated as a percentage of GDP.

The CEPR put much of the blame on multilateral organizations such as the IMF, World Bank and IDB, saying their “contractionary policies” prioritized servicing of debt over growth and development.

The Tribune said that it was “cautiously optimistic” that Jamaica’s government will “do better.”

“The lesson of Jamaica is not that access to credit is bad,” the paper wrote. “It’s that irresponsible stewardship is bad.”

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