Most of us in our life times have always known that the US dollar is stronger than the Jamaican dollar. When I was about 12 years old the exchange rate used to be $1 USD: $55 JMD. I thought that was huge as I remember going through Grade 5 with $60.
So how did this happen to our currency now that the exchange rate is (at the time of writing this) approximately $1 USD: $110 JMD?
Jamaican Dollar’s history
Let me tell you a little story about the Jamaica dollar. For the purpose of storytelling, we will call the Jamaican dollar, Little Jam and the US dollar, Umi.
Little Jam was born 1967, about 5 years after our independence. In 1967, Little Jam was one of the wealthiest currencies in the Caribbean. He was even stronger than Umi. Little Jam was in the gym every day, 365 days a year lifting barbells and doing bench presses to maintain his strength as he was stronger than Umi by the ratio $0.77 JMD: $1 USD at the end of 1971. Little Jam continued to work out under the regime of the Jamaica Labour Party’s leader Hugh Shearer who kept Little Jam perfectly fit until the end of this end of his political reign in 1972.
The Rise of the PNP
With the end of the reign of JLP’s political leader Hugh Shearer and a beginning on a new era, the era of Prime Minister Michael Manley, Little Jam was devastated. Little Jam become so depressed that he stopped working out 365 days a year as he took some days to mourn for this comrade. While Little Jam started to slack off, Umi saw a window of opportunity in to work twice as hard as Little Jam to eventually raise the ratio of their strengths to $0.91 JMD: $1 USD. Little Jam started to slack off even more, training only five times a week thus allowing Umi to become stronger and stronger year as Umi continued to train 365 days a year. By the end of 1980, Umi beat Little Jam at the World Currency Championship and became the stronger currency with the new ratio being $1.98 JMD: $1USD. Michael Manley, after the disgraceful defeat of Little Jam, abandoned office to give rise to a new leader, a JLP leader.
Little Jam had just lost the title to Umi and was now in a deep state of depression. The 5 days a week became 4 and Umi continued to get stronger year after year. By the new year of 1981, Prime Minister Edward Seaga took office and tried to pull the breaks on Little Jam’s decline as the years rolled by. Little Jam’s training became sloppy and Mr Seaga’s training regime for Little Jam did not seem to be making a dent as Little Jam was still unmotivated but didn’t want to get too big so he continued to train 4 days a week for about 8 years until the difference in his strength to Umi’s was $5.51JMD: $1USD.
Prime Minister Edward Seaga and his training methods for Little Jam were not as effective as Little Jam’s friend Hugh Shearer but he worked with Little Jam as much as he could. Prime Minister candidacy was now open again and the guy who kicked Little Jam’s friend out of office in 1972 was back to destroy the training regime of Edward Seaga. Michael Manley resumed leadership of the country in February of 1989. Little Jam was further displeased by this and started mourning again thus pushing his workout program to 3 days. By this time, Umi had travelled around the world beating other currencies on the same 365 day training schedule Little Jam had once used. Michael Manley ignored Little Jam for most of his reign as he was more concerned with other things. Little Jam’s ratio to Umi was now $26.75 JMD: $1 USD by March 30th of 1992.
Enter PJ Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller
After heavy neglect from Michael Manley and a heavier depression phase, Little Jam was now only worrying about himself as he was still working to stop expanding like a balloon. Michael Manley was out of the picture on March 30th 1992 so Little Jam believed he could finally work on himself. Little did he know that Michael Manley’s successors would turn him upside down. Mr Patterson changed Little Jam’s training regime completely into something he had a great dislike for. Little Jam hated this training regime and refused to work out under those conditions. This refusal caused Little Jam’s strength to be reduced by more than 240% over a 15 year period as Mr Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller tried to force Little Jam to train under a regime he hated. By the September of 2007, Umi came back to Jamaica to measure it’s progress to Little Jam’s. The ratio of their strength was at a new height of $70.16 JMD: 1JMD.
Help me Bruce and Andrew
By this time, Little Jam lost all hope in ever beating Umi again to reclaim his title and was now plummeting to a record low purchasing power projected to be $100JMD: $1USD. However, Bruce Golding and Andrew Holiness stepped in after the September of 2007 and worked 365 days a year to put a stop to the declination of Little Jam’s strength as he was now in the lowest of the lows when it came to strength. Bruce Golding and Andrew Holiness managed to stop the sharp decline of Little Jam’s strength by putting a more currency friendly training program in place to help Little Jam shape up for competition again. Little Jam become good friends with Bruce and Andrew as they worked together for the well being of Little Jam which ultimately meant the well being of the country. Little Jam managed to maintain a constant strength of $86.70 JMD: $1USD for several years of new training regime.
Portia finishes it
Little Jam started getting comfortable in the training program and was getting a little stronger when the PNP’s Portia Simpson Miller reclaimed office once again showing her obvious dislike for Little Jam and pushed him out of his comfort zone where he was most productive and left him on the sidelines again now reducing his strength to a value of 127% in 2014. Little Jam currently has no faith in any PNP leaders anymore due to their continuous maltreatment of him. He believes he will continue to sink until he is valued nothing.
So since 1967, the Jamaican Dollar has lost 14,357% of its value. Which party is to blame? I leave that to you.
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