A State of Urgency

In reflecting on the magnitude of Jamaica’s present social and economic problems, one cannot help but reminisce about the historical context of the tragic economic, political and social path the country has taken. The results, we witnessed as our present political leaders struggled to justify the unpopular decision to tax salt, syrup, noodle soup mix, computers and books.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding is reported to have acknowledged that the present hardships being levied on Jamaicans are unavoidable as his administration had no choice. The purchasing power of the Jamaican people has taken another precipitous decline.

Not having any alternatives today is the result of many decades of ill fated policy options. Many of my countrymen have never experienced a Jamaica that was without significant economic and social hardships. Neither can Jamaicans be comforted about the future considering that the present administration underestimated and were unprepared for the current global economic crisis.

Even in the best performing global economy the country continued to face development challenges denying itself the opportunity to build safety nets.

Our elected officials must become more proactive in analyzing and understanding economic trends toward preemptive policy adjustments and implementation before situations demand urgent action. Proactive measures are particularly important because of the vulnerabilities of the island’s fragile economy.

It is the leadership’s inability to foresee the effects of globalization and market liberalization that have allowed the decimation of most of the country’s manufacturing, financial and agricultural industries. As a result its economic performance remains relatively anemic when compared with other countries in the region.

It is for these reasons that each budget cycle the government is confronted with the difficulty of sourcing funding for public expenditures. The government is a serious competitor with the private sector for capital that should be going towards private investment. The resulting high cost of money is just one of the disincentives for entrepreneurs to take investment risks.

The private sector can be a crucial partner for helping to achieve stated public policy goals. However, in return, the government should adopt a more cooperative stance towards enhancements in the business environment. A robust private sector is a fundamental necessity if the country is to emerge from the decades of policy mishaps. It is the private sector which will deliver increase in the tax revenues, employment, trade volumes and employment.

Increasing productivity is a mandatory part of any plan to reinvigorating the economic landscape. Reducing the cost of money to these investors along with more liberal business policies can act as a stimulant to economic expansion and new investments towards both increased production and employment.

All indications are that the country should be prepared for more austerity, so every effort should be made to induce investments. In order to compete for these investment dollars the government must repackage the country’s positive attributes and address immediately the growth of crime, corruption and bureaucratic red tape with more effective policies.

The country cannot continue along the same circular path it has been traveling for decades with short term temporary patches using increasingly higher taxes or searching for more loans. More taxes and loans do not effectively address the decades of perceived misguided public policies, feeble economic and political leadership and widespread corruption throughout government.

The entire country must take seriously the goal of rebuilding Jamaica – a monumental nation building endeavor to recalibrate a long term strategic plan. If the prime minister is serious about placing the country’s business ahead of political partisanship then he should mandate immediate steps to start reforming the political, judicial and security system. The state machinery must work in support of the economic engine and the public. A more inclusive democratic model would allow for greater engagement and consultations of the opposition, industry representatives and other interested special interest prior to important policy changes.

     

6 comments on “A State of Urgency
  1. Vinton your piece is great. Keep writing. The good old maxim, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ is still true today. Thank you Mark, Kadene and all others who sponsor this on-line forum. You can only grow from strength to strength.

    A comment on the Observer’s poll: Jesus said, ‘Give unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, and onto God the things that belong to God’s’. Churches should not escape the tax net. Just go into a church in our inner city communities and you will see how poor people’s money is spent. Yes churches must have a pleasant atmosphere, but I think we are competing with the Image churches in the U.S.

    WE CANNOT LIVE A ‘Good HOUSE Keeping’ or ‘A Martha Stewart’ or an ‘Oprah’ magazine life style on our per capita income. We are non-productive, yet we want large salaries, the best cars, the most palatial homes, shop at Kingston 21; brag about your trips abroad, and then complain how life is so very hard. Priority my friends: politicians, churches, professionals, business communities and ordinary citizens slow down ask yourself how your selfishness has got us to where we are now.

    Have a good day.

  2. Just to say as a matter of urgency, Kadene and Mark you need to get everything on the 18 policemen involved in the Montego Bay lotto scam. How these men are being retired, why are they not arrested and face charges?
    In the disappearance of Kemar Walters amd Oliver Duncan and the arrest of three policemen and one more to be caught. yes there are good cops, but those who are criminals are dreadful criminals. uniformed salaried, criminals. now who is going to say that all i do is beat upon police- you see the law is ‘not a shackle’ so it is freedom for all to do as you like. Mr. Patterson thank you for your great legacy.i hope you feel good with the condition of this country!!!all of you sat there collecting your great pay packages and like nero jamaica burns and bleeds. Cliffe Hughes i invite you to read Abeng and Jamlink – i big u up and your committed team. God be with everyone of you,bless you and keep, unlike us you are known by the public and you have put yourselves on the cutting edge of investigating the wrongs in our society.

  3. T.G. on the scene as a matter of urgency!
    Every Ministry needs an anti – corruption arm for it is not only in civil works and large contacts you have corruption.

    You know it baffles me that the P.N.P. can criticise the criteria for the selection of path beneficiaries, those criteria were set up by their administration and they had no problem with it. come on deacon be more objective.
    Robot taxis not only break the law by operating without the proper licenses but they are the worse drivers on the road.
    The law must now be a shackle, C

  4. Thanks for your encouragement Griffins. I do hope that in our own resolute way we are having a positive impact (in the long run) on the future of Jamaica. We rely on people like yourself to spread the word and encourage others to become more active in our country’s affairs. We cannot sit idly by and do nothing. History has proven that great change comes about by an idea from one person. We don’t have to be a hero to do heroic things. Blessings!

  5. All of you please remember that it must be JAMAICA FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD!!! lIFT YOUR THOUGHT PROCESSES!
    1. ‘Awake! for morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has flung the stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
    The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose OF lIGHT.
    From: The Rubayyat of Omar Khayam. Transslated into Enlish 1859.
    All of you go to JAMLINK AND READ AS WELL.
    Thanks Vinton for your comments. Mark, Kadene and Hansen we will continue to be the unsung heroes. ‘ We seek no greater honour, than just to know Him more and count our gains as losses to the glory of our LORD. For we have blessed beyond measure and by His strength alone , we overcome. Oh, we all can count successes like diamonds in our hands but these trophies could not equal to the grace by which we stand.
    Excerpts from: Michael English’s , In Christ Alone’.

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