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evanovitch
01-29-2010, 07:33 PM
Playing political football with the Finsac Enquiry


Thursday, January 28, 2010



IT would have been unrealistic, na´ve even, to expect that the Finsac Commission of Enquiry would have been bereft of our customary politicking. But in this space, hope springs eternal.

The circumstances under which the Commission had its genesis had, perhaps, signalled the troubles to come. There is no agreement and might never be any, on the reason or reasons for the financial meltdown in the 1990s.

For former Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies and the administration under which the crash of many financial institutions occurred, it was largely the fault of poor management of money and bad business practices.

Finsac, the Financial Adjustment Company, therefore, was necessary and had in effect saved a situation that could have been much worse but for its intervention.

On the other hand, those who lost their investment, life's savings, and pride along with it, are adamant that exorbitant interest rates, which they attribute to government policies, are the culprit. They also question the way the assets of the failed financial institutions were disposed of.

Of course, the fact that the then Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) promised, some would say threatened, to launch an inquiry into the matter, if it won the elections, and has now carried out its promise, immediately made it a partisan political issue.

It seems that no issue, no matter how important it is to the forward movement of this country, can escape the national pastime of playing political football.

We had hoped that the Finsac Commission of Enquiry would have been able to provide the answers that all well-thinking Jamaicans want about why the bottom fell out of the mostly indigenous financial institutions.

It came at a time when Jamaican ingenuity was being hailed, when national pride soared because Jamaicans were in charge of institutions which had been dominated by foreign owners for decades before.

But the fact that those that remained largely in foreign hands, operating in a similar environment, including government policies, but did not go under, seemed to suggest that something had gone awry. We would like to know what did.

We do not wish to believe that all those Jamaicans who risked their life's savings into those ventures were poor, irresponsible managers who made bad financial decisions. Still, we would like to know why so many of the key players are shunning the inquiry.

Did Dr Davies save Jamaica, as he may well have, or did he put us on a path to destruction? Many Jamaicans would like to know.

The great thing about a commission of enquiry is that it is not a court of law and as such its findings are not legally binding. That allows it to be an excellent mechanism for unearthing the facts of a situation.

But that is only if it is allowed to do that fact-finding work in good faith. Unfortunately, that is not now the case with the Finsac Commission, which has become a political football.

Yet, we believe it is still possible to recover lost ground. Scrapping the Commission is not the answer. All that does is to suggest that we, as a people, do not have it in us to look back at our failures, in order to prevent their recurrence. And that we remain slaves to our politics.

Unless there is demonstrable justification not to, retired Justice Boyd Carey and his commissioners should be afforded the greatest level of co-operation by all in carrying out their fact-finding work.

That is, if there is nothing to hide.


<span style="font-weight: bold">mi wanted to add dis to the series of FINSAC articles i have been posting fi months now but mi cudden find di original </span>