KINGSTON, Jamaica — A petition has been launched on the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM’s) website calling for a referendum to dollarize the Jamaican dollar.
The petition, titled ‘Call a Referendum for Dollarization of Jamaican Dollar’, which was launched today, argued that more than 45 per cent of the savings of Jamaicans are now in United States dollars, indicating that citizens deserve a referendum on the dollarization of the Jamaican dollar.
Dollarization refers to an instance where a country officially or unofficially adopts another country’s currency as legal tender for business transactions.
The petitioner explained that currently utility bills, hotel bills, food bills, textbooks, online services and online purchases are all pegged to the US dollar, adding that Panama and Barbados are prosperous states which have pegged their exchange rate to the US dollar.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw in November last year urged the country to rally behind Government’s efforts to control the slide of the local dollar against the United States currency.
Shaw told the House on November 1, that the Government has already started discussions with the financial sector to work together to stop the slide and, in an obvious invitation to the Opposition in Parliament to join the effort, pointed out that: “It happened on that side. It is happening on this side; and so what we have to do is that we have to come together to find a solution.”
Based on the instructions on the OPM’s website, the petition needs to gather 15,000 signatures in 30 days for it to be reviewed and if it complies with agreed standards, the OPM will issue an official response.
The petition will close on November 7.