by Cato Rand
So the Reverend Stanley Redwood, former President of the Senate (February 2012 – May 2013) has migrated with his family to Canada, in the pursuit of greater opportunities than Jamaica has to offer. A sad indictment on 50 years of independence.
We have so mismanaged our affairs that so many of our people see the need to leave our shores to maximize their potential and fulfill their dreams. So many of us gush with pride on remarking that wherever in the world one ventures you will find a Jamaican and probably not pausing to realize that this is a manifestation of the paucity of opportunities that has characterized life in Jamaica for so long.
When will our politicians realize that their primary task on assuming the levers of power is to pursue policies that will expand economic opportunities for our people? On the contrary our politicians seem to think that holding office is more about handing out goodies. Witness the yearly Budget debates as the Prime Minister during his/her presentation hands out the ʻscarce benefits and spoils’. In recent times this has centered on the National Housing Trust (NHT): building houses for non-contributors, tweaking interest rates and loan limits, all of this occurring while not enabling the majority of (non-voluntary) contributors to derive what one would have thought is the purpose of their monthly payments- acquiring their own home. We have so mismanaged our economy that the average Jamaican simply cannot afford NHT mortgage rates – arguably the lowest on offer in the island.
On the point of tweaking, the Prime Minister typically does what I will call a ʻBubkaʼ. During the 1980s and ʻ90s Sergey Bubka was the leading pole-vaulter in the world and would be awarded financially each time he breaks the world record. Bubka would raise the bar a few inches even though he could scale much higher heights so he could gain some more money at an upcoming meet. I get the sense that the politicians do similar with NHT – do a little this year so they can come back next year with a little more benefits, all the time reaping plaudits from the cheerleaders masquerading as political analysts.
Speaking of the NHT what has become of the lawsuit filed by Citizens Action for Principle and Integrity to bar the NHT from handing over money to the Government for budgetary support?
When will our people exercise a little more self pride and stop settling for the crumbs on offer from the politicians. We must also fault the enablers that reside in media and academia, who over the years have continued to laud our decision makers while their efforts inexorably drive the country more and more into the ground.
After years of mismanagement our thought leaders are now hoping we will reap an economic windfall from reparations for slavery. They continue to primarily place the blame for the parlous economic state we find ourselves on slavery, colonial rule, prevailing economic order dominated by the Western powers while conveniently ignoring the misrule of our politicians.
I note that the Government is to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the events that unfolded while the security forces invaded Tivoli Gardens in May 2010 in search of Christopher Coke. If previous happenings are an indication of things to come this Inquiry is guaranteed to be a grand waste of time and money. However it’s an astute political move, as I am sure it will be so manipulated to embarass the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), considering the close association between the Tivoli community and the JLP. Green being the party colour of the JLP they will certainly be in familiar surroundings as this Inquiry will further ensure that they are ʻout a grassʼ for some time to come.
One of the problems Right From Yaad has been highlighting is that successive Governments have been engaging in activities they have no business being involved in; and thus unable to properly undertake their primary responsibility which is to protect the rights of citizens. Right From Yaad contends that this is the main reason we continue to languish economically and we experience such poor services in health, education, security, justice etc….
Now we see that the Government is getting more involved in the entertainment industry. We have a Junior Minister who oversees the entertainment industry, who seemingly is trying to justify the salary he receives. Mr. Crawford is now going to, among other things, push for the registration of entertainers.
I do hope that there will be push back; and entertainers will not partake in this initiative. There can be no sensible justification for the Government to be involved in entertainment other than protecting the rights of the various players and collecting taxes.
There is an interesting development re: the Caribbean Court Of Justice (CCJ). The Government has introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives to enshrine the CCJ as our final court. Based on utterances from Constitutional lawyers, for Jamaica to abolish the Privy Council and replace it with the CCJ, the Bill has to garner support from at least two thirds of the members in both the Lower House and the Senate or a referendum will have to be held. The Government with 42 members in the House of Representatives is almost guaranteed of this level of support in the lower House but what about the upper House. They will need the support of at least one JLP Senator. The JLP is on record that they do not support the CCJ being our final court but could it be that the PNP are aware of at least one JLP Senator prepared to break party lines. Interesting times ahead.
Let me state here that I do not support us having the CCJ as our final Court. When we do end our present arrangements with the Privy Council then we should have our final Court here in Jamaica. I believe in the principle of separation of powers and the attendant checks and balances, with the three branches of Government namely Executive, Legislature, Judiciary being independent bodies and with each not being beyond the reach of the citizenry from whom they have derived the consent to govern.
More anon. By the way I wonder what has become of former dancehall queen Carlene who was everywhere in the 1990’s (including on Slam condoms).
Cato Rand is a Black Jamaican of Libertarian and Conservative persuasion. He is a fervent believer in Capitalism, Freedom and the principles outlined by the US Constitution and it being applicable to all peoples, including Jamaicans. He is a strong advocate for the limited role that a government should play in the lives of people.