‘Jamaica 55’ celebrations? We really want to spend J$200million to ‘party’?

When I read this tweet from Jamaica Information Service,

my first reaction was “Please, no!” So, let me just state for the record: I am not a fan of funding celebrations (or spending money of non-essentials) when you have a country and people with so many basic social needs unmet. No fan, at all!

I do not think a case has to be made for better uses of J$200 million. But, maybe, it does. It was too ironic that in the press release for this special budget allocation, it was announced that Cabinet approved an annual budgetary subvention of $120 million to the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation towards the upkeep of the Hope Zoo.

Jamaica has people and things craving funds to deal with real social issues. Must we dip into the meagre resources we have available for another wave of self-congratulation? What are we congratulating ourselves for? That’s almost a rhetorical question, to me. I’m not going to insult my fellow Jamaicans by listing the things that we say we care about which could benefit from J$200 million being spent on them. I will just mention one that should be topical and should be relevant and should be fixed before we lift one straw to ‘party’ yet again. A SHELTER FOR ABUSED WOMEN!

Fell free to vent your frustration or opposition to my view, or to the government’s proposed use of budget funds.

Jamaica is famous for talking about its ills and what needs to be done about them, yet failing to then do the basics to address those ills. Is this yet another example of that national failing?


Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)

5 thoughts on “‘Jamaica 55’ celebrations? We really want to spend J$200million to ‘party’?”

  1. I am not a fan of big spending on celebrations, when there are essentials to be taken care of. It’s rather like (and I know analogies are inexact) a family spending on a big birthday bash for Dad’s 50th, when money is still to be found for Grandma’s hip operation or daughter’s exam fees…

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  2. Problem is though – the Jamaican people EXPECT the government to spend this kind of money on celebrations. If they don’t, there is much criticism. I have no problem with money for Hope Gardens or the Zoo (they’re also visitor attractions) – I remember the days when they were so horribly run-down. There’s very little green space in Kingston, too. We need to preserve it.

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    1. The Zoo fits ‘needs’. If the population EXPECTS (though I’m not convinced that’s true), then that must be in the context of extreme lack of understanding of numbers and budgets–which is quite possible. In other words, wanting all things, despite that being unrealistic.

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      1. Yes, Dennis. It is true. The general populace looks forward to the Grand Gala and all that stuff. It may not appeal to the likes of you and me but they DO expect a bit of pageantry.


      2. I don’t look forward to decades of continued indebtedness. But, in a culture that’s thrived on government ‘spoils’ and tax avoidance or evasion, that concern barely registers.


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