The Political Party that destroyed the Jamaican Dollar

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.

Jamaican dollar devalues lose value under PNPStop devaluing Little Jam

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.

You again!

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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Marshalee Goodaz Thompson

PNP and the IMF deserve large part of the blame for sure.

Freddie James
7 years ago

Is there anyone out there who can prove that this is incorrect information?

Freddie James
7 years ago

I don’t care for politics but I remember every party talk about having the solution to fix the country’s problems but it is yet to happen or even show promise.
I remember the JLP doing a decent job of trying to stabilize the dollar as said in this article. I remember the PNP came to power when the dollar was at $5.50 and it has never gotten better but it sure got worse with no end in sight

BabyThea Reader
7 years ago

Good piece, but I’d like to see young Jamaican writers, historians and financial analysts who try to do such assessments actually stop telling half truths by omission. The devaluation that took place in the 70’s was greatly aided by the action of the JLP and Seaga through whom the IMF, CIA and USA/Reagan worked to bring the country to its knees #sabotageforpoliticalgain. If we are truly going to address the situation, we have to flush out all the facts. Just like Portia, the PNP and their biased trade union affiliates played a part in the failure of the IMF program… Read more »

Alexander Lazarus
7 years ago

You’re just a hurt lil JLP fanboy.

Dwight Taylor
7 years ago

Ha ha I hate politics. but the JLP really? The same guys who got into bed with Ronald Reagan and the CIA to scare Jamaicans in the 70’s about communism. The same party that once thought that the ANC in south Africa was a threat? even banning the TV series Shaka Zulu because Seaga thought it was a threat. dont let me laugh. The same party that wanted free market and when manly gave it to them in 1990 and the dollar started to trade freely started to complain about the value. The dollar was stable in the 1980’s because… Read more »

Paul Sullivan
7 years ago

If people are going to comment get your facts straight. Ronald Reagan was sworn into office as the US president in January 1981 so he could not have aided Seaga in the 1970s. The Democrat Jimmy Carter was president from 1977 to 1980, before that Gerald Ford was president.

Owen HolyGhost Palmer
7 years ago

well done sir

George Bond
7 years ago

dear oh dear oh dear………now that sir was hard to read.and complete bollox…there is one reason and one reason only for the devaluing of the Jamaican dollar…lack of home/export production/Jamaica living beyond its means..meaning imports instead of exports….neither political party had a clue how to deal with it…borrow borrow borrow was the ONLY answer they came up with…..had the Jamaican dollar been allowed to find its own level Jamaica would not have a two trillion dollar deficit …successive governments tried to make Jamaica something it is not and raped later Jamaican generations for years to come…..shoring up the dollar so… Read more »

Janice Foster-Jean
7 years ago

This is the most bias post I’ve ever read…. I left Jamaica before I was old enough 2 vote but I graduated High School in JA. This is BS…no 2 party can not be blabbed for the decline in the dollar in a democratic government. Jamaicans are 2 political and that’s the reason why they kill each other every election.

Damion Williams
7 years ago

It’s good to simply quote statistics and figures and not sum up the real true of the issue. The statistics are fact,but what were the underline issue at the time to have cause the change. Talk of the true not political generated fact.

Henry Hall
7 years ago

Jamaica taking it’s time gradually becoming if not the second worst poorest country next to Haiti the pnp government is incapable of managing the island I had a week visit after migrating to the usa twenty years it becoming deplorable

Leroy Ezeonyeukwuugwu Montaque

It is not Ronald Reagan but Kissinger the Secretary of State then for the US. that’s a bit if correction.

Darryl Edwards
7 years ago

Jamaica’s currency is weak because her economy is weak. The country imports more than it exports. The trade imbalance vs the US started under Manley in the 70s and has never improved since. You cannot maintain a strong dollar vs an industrial power like the US unless you industrialized as well, and start producing what was once imported. And you must PROTECT those industries from being snuffed out by foreign competition. For example, take a look at the countries of Asia. They all have trade SURPLUSES with US, and they have NO QUALMS about de-valuing their own currency—the better to… Read more »

Ro'Mando Dushay Douglas

When I read the title, i was hoping that JA Blogz will not be divulging a post that is politically biased . It doesn’t make any sense we live by half the truth and that is what killing many Jamaicans and the world by extension. JLP and the CIA played a huge role in making Jamaica what it is today. The sabotage from the 70’s of Mr. Manley’s government by the JLP and CIA ramped up Jamaica into high debt and increased violence. Up till today, this has still been haunting us. Successive governments worsen the country due to dishonesty… Read more »

Kevyn PittBull Pitt
7 years ago

i remember the foreign exchange auction …… if i remember i think it was under JLP ….. & the dollar slid daily

André Stewart
7 years ago

This is so poorly written. I don’t think this is a credible writer.

Lorna Hughes
7 years ago

I was just discussing that with my hairdresser who is from Cuba
That our pro minister came back from visiting Cuba and said he was going to walk to the top of the mountain with Castro and if we as Jamaicans did not like it there were three flights out to America and anyone who was able to do do did and took their money with them

Lantz Garvey
7 years ago

Those of us blaming the PNP or the JLP, are you guys even aware of the HUGE DEBT Jamaica was left with when they were given their independence? NO POLITICAL PARTY could have dug them out of that hole!

And with constant IMF loanshark loans, that hole just got deeper and deeper and deeper…

John Blagrove
6 years ago

All political party is responsible for the downfall of the country strength, 1. they were tricked that the Banana was contaminated with chemical, 2 then the size of the banana was not correct, 3 The sugarcane was too soft and brings in some cane that could not produce enough sugar. 4 From the labs scientist wanted their cut of the market by saying sugar is not good for you it gives cancer causing the country to plunge even deeper into SHIT and further to that the people start looking towards Tourism and when it first started it was good for… Read more »

Paul Sullivan
6 years ago

If people are going to comment get your facts straight. Ronald Reagan was sworn into office as the US president in January 1981 so he could not have aided Seaga in the 1970s. The Democrat Jimmy Carter was president from 1977 to 1980, before that Gerald Ford was president.

BabyThea Reader
6 years ago

Good piece, but I’d like to see young Jamaican writers, historians and financial analysts who try to do such assessments actually stop telling half truths by omission. The devaluation that took place in the 70’s was greatly aided by the action of the JLP and Seaga through whom the IMF, CIA and USA/Reagan worked to bring the country to its knees #sabotageforpoliticalgain. If we are truly going to address the situation, we have to flush out all the facts. Just like Portia, the PNP and their biased trade union affiliates played a part in the failure of the IMF program… Read more »

Freddie James
6 years ago

I don’t care for politics but I remember every party talk about having the solution to fix the country’s problems but it is yet to happen or even show promise.
I remember the JLP doing a decent job of trying to stabilize the dollar as said in this article. I remember the PNP came to power when the dollar was at $5.50 and it has never gotten better but it sure got worse with no end in sight

Dwight Taylor
6 years ago

Ha ha I hate politics. but the JLP really? The same guys who got into bed with Ronald Reagan and the CIA to scare Jamaicans in the 70’s about communism. The same party that once thought that the ANC in south Africa was a threat? even banning the TV series Shaka Zulu because Seaga thought it was a threat. dont let me laugh. The same party that wanted free market and when manly gave it to them in 1990 and the dollar started to trade freely started to complain about the value. The dollar was stable in the 1980’s because… Read more »

Marshalee Goodaz Thompson

PNP and the IMF deserve large part of the blame for sure.

Alexander Lazarus
6 years ago

You’re just a hurt lil JLP fanboy.

Freddie James
6 years ago

Is there anyone out there who can prove that this is incorrect information?

Kurt Gidihan
6 years ago

PNP AND IMF destroy the jamacan dollar