Tue | Oct 20, 2020

Preserve public ownership of country’s infrastructure

Published:Thursday | February 20, 2020 | 12:14 AM


The recent move by the Andrew Holness-led Government to sell off major pieces of the country’s infrastructure to private owners via the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is no less than genius.

However, its mission of ‘socialising wealth’ may simply amount to a play on words, and thereby, failing its true intent if the Government does not move swiftly to preserve the public’s ownership interest in these firms.

Given the cold, harsh reality of capitalism, big-money players will soon gobble up full ownership of these once-government-owned companies. At that juncture, Jamaica and Jamaicans will be held hostage by a few wealthy owners.

The Government can prevent such mishaps by regulating the ownership structure and restraining complete takeover of these companies by large capitalists.

I recommend the Government stipulate a minimum 20 per cent ownership stake by the public post-initial public offering.

If the goal of socialising wealth is to be prolonged, and not be a one-off phenomenon, it is necessary to keep a minimum ownership interest in public hands.

Oniel Edwards

Equity Analyst