Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sunday Sound Off: A Nation Trying To Survive

A Nation Trying To Survive:

The Economist
Sounding Off:There is a critical error in Jamaica’s design, that has surprisingly gain attention in the public domain with fewer viable options slowly going down the drain as we continue towards that dark hole of “Greece-Dom”, the “Chicago Tribune” had sketched it out relating to “Irresponsible Stewardship” but there is a deeper and more rooted issue than “Irresponsibility” that must come to the forefront and be dealt with in a manner that is wholesome with no hold backs on the part of government including opposition before we proceed to attempt fixing the Economy or anything else with bold long term measures.

This design flaw has been discussed by Central government with countless reports and proposals spun to the satisfy the calls and wails for its implementation as the Reforms are necessary and must go deeper than simple brush overs, this fix requires Power to siphon of Central Government and be channeled closer to the people, to open Government to more accountability and criticism and demands of us to expect from government, only as much as we put in.

This ultimate blooper in our 50 year old, politically independent Democracy is one that we might not have noticed, over looked or just forgot along the way, but it is critical to our development as a Nation with the 2030 goal of Developed Nation status – Unfortunately it took us this long to realize that we are A-N-T-T-S (A Nation Trying To Survive).

If we had developed our constitution and later development policies around the acronym ANTTS we would be so much better off as a Nation and People. Ants in reality are very productive and successful insects that are known to inhabit all but 1 of the continents of the world, they have a mechanism that is truly reputable, that involves thousands and sometimes millions of ants with different “Jobs’ and “Purposes” actually coordinating around a single purpose of bettering the ‘Colony’ and ensuring the future for the ‘next generation’. This idea of a generalized and centralized nation could carry us so far but at this point in time, we need a “New Reality Check” particularly in a small nation with tons of problems.

Mobilizing Government

The Prime Minister in December 2003 (Observer), as Local Government Minister under the P.J. Patterson administration can be recalled as saying:
"Local government reform is important, and at every sector in Jamaica, we need high caliber leadership and people who are courageous enough to stand up and be counted for what they believe in -- people of integrity who are not afraid of hard work," she said.
As Minister she said local governance was all about reducing the control of central government over local affairs and empowering local communities to take the major decisions affecting their well-being and development.
"We have to get back to basics. Part of the problems we are having and the challenges in this country today is that we are not putting enough focus and attention on our communities. What we need to do is to empower the people so that the communities will have strong parishes and that will lead to a much stronger and prosperous Jamaica," Simpson Miller said.
She said that those who serve at the local government level were far better equipped to hear what people were saying and be more responsive to their needs, adding that local government reform process was designed to lead to even greater levels of responsiveness and accountability, with public policy becoming more in line with public preferences.
"Everywhere, the evidence is piling up that central government is becoming too large and impersonal to be truly responsive to the needs of communities by means of centrally directed policies and programmes” said the PM Simpson-Miller
She mentioned a similar comment in 2004 (George Headly, The Gleaner)
"Communities will be empowered, since through the appropriate local machinery, Government answers directly to the people. Space is created for communities to have greater interest and more meaningful participation in local governance, but citizens need to become more community conscious and build effective community organisations which will help their political representatives to be more effective," said Mrs. Simpson Miller.

She noted that there were signs all over the island pointing to the fact that the more organised communities tend to command the most attention and respect. She also said, "the more organised is the community, the less opportunity provided for criminals and that the more protection is provided for children and young people".
PM Simpson-Miller knows that this system error is a sinkhole, and we must take care to at this problem structure problem, as our local small business are the back of the Nation and these we cannot in our right minds allow to falter because we failed to act, the Government needs to mobilize itself and apply itself outside of Kingston and Gordon House other than Social Programmes and Culture Development – the rural areas are begging for the Kingston experience so they don’t have to actually travel to Kingston for Government Business. Kingston is not Jamaica. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New Reality Check: Reject Divisive Politicking

New Reality Check: 

Reject Divisive Politicking

As the rest of the World was counting down the days for the inevitable arrival of the New Year -contrary to Mayan Legends – Jamaican’s minds were fasten on a pending International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal or at least a Letter of Intent to begin our uphill recovery, either was expected to be in hand before year end as promised by the administration. The ‘N/A’ that would occupy the space for ‘IMF Deal’ on the Promises Kept Report Card for the 1st Year of the Simpson-Miller Administration was ultimately the expected result by the Politico-sphere and the informed populous.

The key negotiating components and needed reforms for a “deal” were in the Jamaican Parliament; floundering about like a “Fish out of water” including: Tax Reform, Pension Reform and Public Sector Reform, although the Opposition was vigorously anchoring the “Deal” to the Government, the general feeling about the “deal” was one of mild indifference rather than urgency – not to lower its importance, especially to the business sector.

The Audley Reality

With a looming IMF deal that could possibly be Do or Die, a sliding dollar, growing inflation, the unbearable cost of energy and an overall eroding Economy, adding the 2030 Vision of achieving Developed Nation Status; all on our plate with double portions as the world could possibly slip back into another deep recession, you would fathom that all hands would be on board and all those who were off would realize the magnitude of the situation and throw themselves head first at the problems: but “Politics ignores reality and creates a new one”.

And in his “World so-so-so far away” Audley Shaw, Opposition spokesman on Finance and former Minister; appeared on a current affairs programme in the very first week of the new year to give his insight on the issue of the Economy and specifically the IMF deal. The host and Mr Shaw begun with a tussle as the spokesman wanted to focus on the current administrations failures (politically acceptable) while the host understandably wanted to review Shaw’s own stint in office, which also heavily featured the IMF. The struggle continued till the last question, that any Jamaican with or without a Voters I.D. would ask if they had the opportunity to speak to their elected representative, the question said: “What would be your advice to the Government?” and Audley Shaw replied: “I will not offer any to advice the Government?”

I did an Article entitled: “The JLP and Rejection Hereafter”, in that article I mentioned that the Jamaica Labour Party is currently in a state of “Resentment” and has to remove this thorn in their side if they are to have any chance in an Election or forever be shunned by the populous, especially when the world is seeking corporation and unity to fix the common sense issues and it’s this fact that makes his stance seem odd and out of touch with our present situation. We just have to glance at the US Politico-sphere for enlightenment; as over the first term of the Obama administration after a Credit degrading battle over the debt ceiling, the United States Congress has its lowest approval rating of its existence – whether it was Tea Party hostage taking or Democrats welfare loving – both sides ended up losing.     

Shared Reality

Shaw’s unwillingness to fulfil his civil duty by providing his advice which most likely consist of alternative and opposing views as a Member of Parliament, representing half the political power within our Westminster structured Government; at a time of teamwork and collaboration with every single fibre of our society to push a “Recovery and Sustain” agenda - is beyond the simple Politicking and Resentful. The question to be asked: Is this the sentiment of an entire Opposition?

Jamaica has been given a negative outlook by Economist and even some Godly prophets but the journey is a dire and costly one, if our Government is made out to be a Lopsided, Half Dead Donkey. The reality is that our leaders have no choice but the refuse the Political Animal within and reject any sensation to cheer for each other’s downfall because we share a common reality.

A quote for Mr Shaw to reflect on by Albert Einstein “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labours of other men, living and dead and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”