KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Finance and the Public Sector Audley Shaw today revealed that Jamaica’s largest export to Trinidad and Tobago are not manufactured products but rather, “empty oil tanks.”

Speaking during his presentation to open the budget debate on the Government’s plans to finance the $580-billion budget and meet its commitment to reduce personal income tax in Parliament today, Shaw said it is a serious situation that must be addressed.

He said that in 1989, Jamaica ran a balanced trade account with CARICOM, including Trinidad and Tobago where the country purchased as many goods as was sold in the CARICOM market.

He used trade figures from January 1 to April 30 of this year between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to show the “most stark contrast” which revealed the decline in Jamaica’s productivity and export competitiveness.

He said figures from real-time information yielded at Customs show that while Jamaica imported some J$13.4 billion from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica only exported J$178.9 million to Trinidad and Tobago over the same period.
“No wonder we are treated with impunity and told there is a special area set aside to deport us overnight,” the minister quipped during his presentation.

He said when exports to Trinidad and Tobago are further analysed, Jamaica only exported a “paltry” J$23 million of “real goods” to Trinidad and Tobago for the period.

“So, Mr Speaker, apart from the J$23 million of real exports, we exported back to Trinidad and Tobago empty tanks — $117 millions (worth).

“You know what the empty tanks are, that is oil tanks that came down from Trinidad with oil and we export it back and they put a nominal value on it,” Shaw explained.

“We exported empty tanks back to Trinidad, so-so air in these empty tanks,” he said.

The finance minister said the figures paint a “picture of the seriousness of our situation”, which must be addressed.


  1. This is so painful to read. What a damn shame?! I can just imagine the other list of atrocities that are not release to public. The powers that be, continues to make other countries rich while they keep getting poorer.

      1. Sigh. And this us why I’m anoyed at jcans when they say, “they treat us this eay because they are jealous of us”. Truth be told, there’s noting to jealous about.

  2. We need to do better not total true we export SERVICES (ie want how entertainers come there ) and how we should look at the entertainers. But i get the larger point.

  3. The sad part about it is that we have so many high quality products that can export, yet a returned barrels wi a deal wid.

    How doze fckrs must siddung and laugh wi to scorn fi di damn poppyshow dis is. Mi glad dis minister being 100% transparent wid di fckry. Show it up, meck wi see if wi still hab pride and shame fi do better.

  4. He’s Minister of Finance ,the second most senior person in government ,he need to act much much more mature .
    Germany sells UK a ton load of goods while the Uk only sell a small percentage of that to Germany .
    USA buys ton and tons of things from china while selling china mostly things for recycle .
    That is the norm .Trinidad is much richer than Jamaica and have much more natural resources .A stronger Caribbean is always in Jamaica’s interest .

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