NEWLY appointed chairman of the Government’s Economic Growth Council (EGC) Michael Lee-Chin says he is not daunted by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) negative growth prediction for the region.
“The first thing we have to do is to build confidence. Once you are confident you can do anything. If you are not confident, you can’t do anything,” he told the Jamaica Observer in an interview in his office at the National Commercial Bank’s (NCB) headquarters at the Atrium, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston.
“When someone says it can’t be done, because the IMF says it can’t be done; really! If someone had told me that you can’t go to Canada and do well, you just have to go to Canada and be like everybody else, and I believed them, what would have happened to me?” he argued.
“What’s the alternative? As I said yesterday (Wednesday) at the press conference, I would not have had the opportunity to go to university (in Canada), if I didn’t get a job at Alpart in 1969. I got a job at Alpart that year because we had GDP growth of 5.84 per cent. The next year the growth was 11.84 per cent. Why can’t we do it again, today?” he asked.
Having completed four years of study in engineering at McMaster University in Canada, Lee-Chin started selling investment proposals and ended up being the 26th richest Canadian with a net value of close to Can$3 billion.
“… So, when someone says because the IMF says so, notwithstanding whoever says so, this is what we have to do. We have to climb the mountain and we have to climb it together. Everybody has to rally around one cause: What am I going to do? Not just stand back and say it can’t be done and do nothing, or it won’t be done,” he stated.
In January, the IMF stated that for Latin America and the Caribbean, growth in 2016 is now expected to be negative for the second consecutive year — the first time since the debt crisis of 1982–83 which, it added, triggered the “lost decade” for the region.
Lee-Chin said that he expects that the full EGC will be established by the middle of next…