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Jamaica Sees Big Drop In Remittance

CaribWorldNews, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Weds. May 20, 2009: Money transfers to Jamaica have slowed remarkably for the first quarter of 2009, according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

The Institute on Monday evening revealed that its research and analysis shows remittance inflows for the January to March period dropped by 15 per cent to US$414.6 million compared to the same period last year.

`What the drop means is that some people who used to send are not sending anything at all,` consulting psychologist Leachim Semaj said.

The IDB in March has predicted that remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean will decline in 2009.  Last year Latin American and Caribbean expatriates transferred some $69.2 billion to their homelands, 0.9 percent more than in 2007, according to the IDB`s Multilateral Investment Fund.

The break in the upward trend took place after the first semester of 2008. After a flat third quarter, in the fourth quarter remittances dropped to $17 billion, 2 percent less than in the same period of 2007, the Bank said.

IDB officials also said in March that a decline in remittances is likely to translate into greater demand on social safety networks by families who rely on money flows from abroad to cover basic expenses.

Remittances, the money transfers made by migrant workers to their homelands, are a vital source of income for hundreds of millions of families around the world, and in the Caribbean, it`s a large chunk of the GDP of many countries in that region.