Lieser, Mariah, Washington Report on the Hemisphere
Economic and social indicators remain dismal for Jamaica after the first quarter of the New Year. High unemployment at 14.2 percent in 2012 coupled with a 2009 poverty rate of 16.5 percent has been the perfect combination for strife. The fact that the nation's debt surpasses GDP by 40 percent, exacerbating already dire conditions, should be cause for concern. As Jamaicans continue to live with few economic opportunities and frequent crime surges, the country's downward economic spiral continues.
Jamaica continues to have difficulties combating its economic problems, as much of the population has dodged taxes for years, lowering anticipated revenue by billions of dollars. In the past, high interest loans have led to additional hardships, preventing Jamaica from experiencing economic growth among other benefits. The BBC has reported that "about 55 percent of government spending goes towards paying the nation's debt, while 25 percent goes for wages. That leaves just 20 percent for everything else - including education, security and health." Even if Jamaica were to pay off its debt, it has a deficit in terms of energy resources needed to propel development. According to The Economist, "[Jamaica] spends more on oil imports than it earns from tourism." Between paying off their debt and paying for oil imports, it has little room for reform in the budget. …