Opinion: ZJB News Misquotes the ECCB in an Attempt to Give Premier Romeo Mileage
The full text of a press statement from the Opposition party MCAP
On Wednesday February 10, 2016, during its 6:00PM Evening News broadcast and again on Thursday February 11, 2016 during its 7:10AM Morning News Broadcast ZJB Radio Montserrat sought to compare the various options outlined by Opposition Leader Reuben T. Meade and Premier Donaldson Romeo in respect of correcting the economic decline recorded in Montserrat during 2015.
In its news broadcast ZJB Radio played a clipping of Reuben T. Meade indicating that primarily strong government capital programme seconded by a strong foreign direct investment is required to correct the economic decline currently being experienced by Montserrat.
ZJB Radio also played a clipping of Premier Donaldson Romeo suggesting that a strong performance in the construction sector is required to correct the economic decline recorded in Montserrat.
Subsequent to these clippings ZJB Radio quoted the following from the September 2015 ECCB Economic and Quarterly Review of Montserrat in an attempt to advance the arguments of Hon. Donaldson Romeo.
“The level of activity in the construction sector, one of the major drivers of GDP growth, has slowed down as a result of delays and stoppages of infrastructural projects, partly due to bottlenecks in the disbursement of capital grants.”
“However, the improvements in the United Kingdom’s economy should in turn lead to more stable and constant flow of grants to Montserrat. Therefore, it is expected that the implementation and resumption of key projects, such as the government’s housing and power generation would be realized in early part of 2016.”
For the sake of public edification, let us take a look at what the ECCB Quarterly Economic and Financial Review did state, which was intentionally not quoted by ZJB Radio. In fact the intentional non quotation was as blatant as the next sentence in the ECCB Text quoted by ZJB Radio.
“The level of activity in the construction sector, one of the major drivers of GDP growth, has slowed down as a result of delays and stoppages of infrastructural projects, partly due to bottlenecks in the disbursement of capital grants. The slowdown in activity, alongside the existing challenge of mobilizing alternative sources of finance, will have an adverse impact on job creation and the potential for increased current revenue. Notwithstanding these challenges, it is expected that in the short to medium term the infrastructural projects will resume, which will in turn increase overall economic activity within the country.”
Therefore, based on the above the ECCB cited the following two issues as the major economic challenges facing Montserrat affecting job creation and government revenues.
1. Delays and stoppages of infrastructural projects which is the roll out of the Government Capital Program (construction in the public sector such as the hospital, housing and port)
2. The existing challenge of mobilizing alternative sources of finance (Foreign Direct Investment)
Based above it would appear that the Hon Reuben T. Meade is indeed correct that both a strong government capital program, seconded by foreign direct investment is required to drive the Montserrat Economy.
Why does it appear that ZJB Radio Montserrat is getting involved in the business of directly and purposefully misinforming the public by chopping and not quoting fully the text of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Quarterly Economic and Financial reports in an order to promote and advance the PDM Government’s misguided political and economic agenda.
Moreover, it is clear from Hon. Donaldson Romeo’s statements that he does not have a grasp on what is required to turn around the economy of Montserrat as he is not taking the advice of any one including the country’s chief economic and financial advisor the ECCB.