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Sun Jun 16, 2019, 08:41 AM

Jamaica once couldn't pay its light bill. Now its economy is welcoming Porsche and BMW.

KINGSTON -- Just seven years ago, Jamaica was an economic basket case. The government was bleeding so much red ink it couldn’t fix potholes or keep streetlights on as it faced a staggering $20 billion debt in 2013.

Today the nation of 2.8 million is the economic-turnaround story of the Caribbean. Among the tough belt-tightening decisions that got it here: improving tax and customs collection; speeding up construction permits and business registrations; imposing a three-year freeze on public sector wages, privatizing its main airport and seaport, and restructuring billions of dollars in domestic debt.

“What we’ve seen over the last five, six, seven years are things that nobody thought you could tackle,” said Brian Wynter, outgoing governor of the Bank of Jamaica, the country’s central bank. “Not just the world is looking at it, but Jamaicans are looking at that.”

Jamaica is not only solvent, but the English-speaking Caribbean nation recently paid off more than $66 million to its own electric utility, the Jamaica Public Service Company, after being behind in its payments for more than two years.

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article231234653.html

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