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Strengthening Ja’s fiscal performance

A KEY element of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement is that Jamaica manipulates fiscal policy (government spending and tax receipts) to maintain a primary balance of 7.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

This year, Government’s revenue targets for the first three quarters are $7.4 billion less than projected. This shortfall is problematic since within the IMF agreement, there is a clause that Jamaica can cut spending to meet this primary surplus if revenues fall off target. Read more

Economic “Clusters” in Jamaica?

By the Caribbean Journal staff

It may be time to create economic “cliusters” to spur growth in Jamaica, according to Densil Williams, Professor of International Business and Executive Director of the Mona School of Business Management at the University of the West Indies.

Williams, who was addressing the Western Jamaica Economic Forum this week, said creating such clusters would bring “immense benefits to the business sector and ultimately the country.”

“Those of us who follow the development debates and see where economic developments are going, what we would have recognized is that the developmental trajectory has moved from this broad based broad brush approach and what they are now focusing on are what they call economic zones,” he said. “These zones are helping countries to become more vibrant players in the wider global sphere.”

A start would be by creating a “proper transportation link” between Jamaica’s two economic centres, Kingston and Montego Bay, where 70 percent of the country’s population lives. Read more

Pre-Christmas pressure on JMD less than expected

McPherse Thompson, Assistant Editor – Business for the Gleaner

Despite the continued depreciation of the Jamaican dollar over the past months, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Governor Brian Wynter said the usual seasonal pressure anticipated at this time of the year is less than expected.

“I think all observers anticipate some pick-up in pressure coming in the pre-Christmas season,” he said.

“Interestingly, the kind of pressure people expected didn’t happen when people thought it would, and that some may be happening now looks like a sort of muted and late response to what we all thought would happen,” Wynter said.

The Jamaican dollar traded at $113.59 to the US dollar on Monday, $0.85 above the $112.74 recorded when the central bank intervened in the market in July of this year.

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Portland Timbers, has exercised its option on 20-year-old Jamaican defender Alvas Powell

United States Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit, Portland Timbers, has exercised its option on 20-year-old defender Alvas Powell, signing the Jamaican outright from Portmore United for a record six-figure sum.

The deal is set to be confirmed as the largest MLS transfer involving a Jamaica player, eclipsing the US$80,000 fee paid by the Houston Dynamo in 2011 to secure Je-Vaughn Watson from Sporting Central Academy.

“The clubs were able to reach an agreement, as the Timbers were fair in their valuation of the player. Ultimately all sides were comfortable with the terms,” was all his agent Romel Wallen offered when asked about the value of the deal.

However, The Gleaner was reliably informed that the transfer is worth US$100,000.

Powell, who according to reports had begun to attract the interest of several European clubs – with Spanish second division team Real Zaragoza and in particular Turkey’s Super Lig unit Torku Konyaspur – had been on loan at the Timbers since July 2013.

Walen, who represented Portmore United in the negotiations, pointed to the Jamaican’s meteoric rise in the Timbers’ system as a major factor in the process.

“A few (European) clubs had expressed interest in the lad, which is not surprising given his perceived upside,” Wallen told The Gleaner in an interview.

”He has become a vital player in the Timbers’ playing system, which has accelerated his development. As such, they were keen not to lose him at this stage,” added Wallen.

After two seasons at Portmore United, the 6’0″ St Thomas native made five appearances in his rookie season for the Timbers and was named the club’s best up and coming player. The defender became the outfit’s youngest player to start a MLS match at 19 years and 16 days.

Major Development

In his first full season with the Timbers, Powell was again named as the club’s best up and coming player, starting 11 of 15 games, adding two goals and two assists.

The move is seen as a major development for the former Paul Bogle High student, who left Jamaica 18 months ago to pursue his dreams of playing professional football.

“With his platform now permanently established, Alvas must focus solely on being the consummate professional,” Wallen stated.

Powell was a vital member of the Jamaican team that recently won the CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup football competition in Montego Bay and has also represented Jamaica at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels. He has 13 national senior caps.

Miss Jamaica DETHRONED

Twenty-three-year-old Shavrine Wilson has replaced the reigning Miss Jamaica Global 2014, Veronica McMaster, and will represent the country in the annual Miss Global International pageant on Saturday, December 6, at the RIU Montego Bay.

Wilson, who was first runner-up during the May 2014 coronation, was crowned at an informal ceremony in Kingston recently.

Pageant ambassador Lachu Ramchandani said McMaster was replaced because she refused to fulfill her obligations as queen.

“After trying to reach her through several messages and telephone calls, she made no effort to contact the franchise director’s office, and as a result of the non-performance of her obligations as a queen, a decision was made to crown the first runner-up, Shavrine Wilson,” Ramchandani said in a statement to The Gleaner.

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