Following the previous post about poor service, I felt I should balance it with a post about how difficult it is to run a small business in Jamaica, particularly when it comes to getting a loan. Shortly after we arrived in Jamaica last year, we considered taking out a loan to buy a car. Our bank was heavily advertising a loan promotion for buying a new car from certain local dealers. The way it was presented you’d imagine the interest rate was the lowest figure ever quoted in the history of financing. It was 18.75%.
We asked about loans for other purchases (we wanted, still want, some bookcases). In that case, the interest would be 33%! We were fortunate enough to be able to get a loan in Europe … at 6%, but few Jamaicans have that possibility.
I remember visiting a small town in Alsace many years ago. One section of the town had been the Jewish quarter. In the Middle Ages, only Jews were allowed to loan money (usury was considered sinful for Christians), and, what with the rising costs of financing military adventures overseas (plus Ã§a change …), the local princes were all soon heavily in debt to the lenders. No problem. The princes simply banded together, whipped up some anti-semitic feeling, and slaughtered all the Jews. Debts cancelled.
And I bet they charged less than 33%.
Here is another example of high interest rates presented as if you should be amazed and grateful.
At this rate you can’t wait? In any case, after your “grace” period at 29%, you may freak out when you learn the normal rate is 49.5%. Ooops! Forgot to mention that, did they?
Look at that woman. She looks positively demented, or at least seriously unbalanced, judging by the way she seems to be staggering.
And what about her face?
Is she really happy
or is she actually
(This is the kind of chain-mail I get in Jamaica)
This is to warn persons who intend to go shopping in the plazas this Christmas. Please be very careful, and ladies don’t walk alone. My cousin was held up yesterday (Friday, 8th December, 2006) in the Springs Plaza at 4:30 in the afternoon.
Three teenage boys came up to her, one hugged her (I guess to make it seem like they all know each other) the other two walked up to her then before she could say anything, one with a knife and the other with a bottle of acid. They took her phone and $6,000.00 that she had.
The police are saying this is the new trend of stealing in the Half Way Tree plazas this Christmas season.
I had already planned to avoid the area because of the almost permanent gridlock in the car parks at this time of year. Having suffered miserably last year while trying to do Christmas shopping, this year we did everything online. Result: no traffic jams or parking stress, no threats of violence, better quality products and much more choice. The only loser is the Jamaican economy because, apart from local shipping costs, every cent has gone overseas.