Mr. Shaw attended the Christiana Leased Junior School, Knox College and Holmwood Technical High School in North East Manchester. He first worked with the Jamaica
Milk Products as a Laboratory Technician. He then worked with the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL Movement) as Area Literacy Officer for North East Manchester and as Zone Officer for St. Andrew.
In 1981 Mr. Shaw graduated from Northern Illinois University (NIU) with the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees in Journalism with graduate studies in Marketing, Finance and Public Relations.
Mr. Shaw is the recipient of the Donald R. Grubb NIU distinguished Alumni Award. He joined the Chicago Office of Burson-Marseller (a Public Relations Consultancy firm) in 1981 as Client Executive, and later put that experience to work when he joined the Jamaica National Investment Promotion Limited (JNIP), later named JAMPRO, as Director for Public Relations and Advertising.
Between 1983 and 1986, Mr. Shaw was responsible for JNIP’s Marketing and Overseas Offices. In 1986 Mr. Shaw resigned his position with Government and became a Merchant and Marketing Consultant. In widening his scope to the political sphere he joined the Jamaica Labour Party in 1987.
The Leader of Opposition appointed Mr. Shaw to the Senate in 1989 and he served as Shadow Minister of Information and Culture, Shadow Minister of Public Utilities and Transport as well as Shadow Minister of Industry and Commerce. In March 1993 he was elected Member of Parliament for North East Manchester.
In September 1995 he was appointed Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament – the watchdog of expenditure of public funds by Government Ministries and Agencies. In the 1997 General Elections, Mr. Shaw was re-elected to serve a second term as Member of Parliament for his constituency. He was subsequently appointed
Shadow Minister of Finance. In 2002 Mr. Shaw was re-elected to serve a third term as Member of Parliament, and in 2007 he was again re-elected to serve a fourth term as Member of Parliament for the North East Manchester constituency.
Mr. Shaw served as General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party and has been a Deputy Leader of the JLP from 1999 to 2013. In September 2007 Mr. Shaw was appointed Minister of Finance and the Public Service in the new Government of the Jamaica Labour Party. In addition, he later assumed the portfolio of Planning.
During his tenure as Minister of Finance, which saw the world’s worst recession since World War II, among the highlights of policies implemented by him was the Jamaica Debt Exchange – an innovative debt management strategy which has been hailed by the IMF and other multi-lateral institutions. He also introduced a fiscal responsibility framework for Jamaica which includes legislative criteria to promote accountability and transparency in the financial affairs of the country.
Mr. Shaw also commenced major structural reforms in Treasury management, tax reform, pension reform and public sector reform and bequeathed to the incoming administration in 2011, a stable economy, characterized by a stable exchange rate, adequate foreign exchange reserves, low inflation, sharply reduced interest rates with a return to growth in the economy.
Following the JLP’s loss in the December 29, 2011 general elections, Mr. Shaw was appointed as Shadow Minister responsible for Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development on January 19, 2012.
In 2013 Mr. Shaw was conferred with Jamaica’s national award of the Commander of the Order of Distinction in the field of public service.
In 2014 he was appointed as Shadow Minister responsible for Finance and Planning.
In the General Elections of February 25, 2016 Mr Shaw was re-elected Member of Parliament for North East Manchester for a sixth term and re-appointed Minister of Finance and the Public Service under the JLP administration.
In 2017, Mr. Shaw was given the prestigious award of “Regional Finance Minister of the Year for the Caribbean” by Global Markets, the official newspaper of record at the IMF/World Bank, EBRD, ADB, AIIB and IADB annual meetings.
On March 28, 2018, Mr Shaw was appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.