Building Nations on Small Islands

It is not in our best interest to continue to ignore the question

How can we build a nation on this small island?

nurturing visions coloured by the assimilation of British political tradition and culture.

Westminster has never been an answer.

Party leader a morning a evening Prime Minister.

But does it even matter?

we have learnt to trust politicians to provide us with all the answers

Political leaders and their Political parties are vested in the monopoly they have on determining the faith of Jamaica

Despite our experience with them we continue to burden future generations with their visions for our future

“Prime Minister a morning and Party Leader a evening”

Today the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is hosting a political rally in Anotto Bay St.Mary. Instagram pictures show the usual “carnival like atmosphere”. My sister calls to tell me how busy the road is with people heading to St.Mary.

Leader of the JLP and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness is expected to announce the date for the by-elections in South East St.Mary. Besides the by-elections, South East St.Mary was in the news for the past two weeks because the Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness announced a $626 million road and infrastructure project which will focus on roads from Toms River to Agualta Vale.

At a press conference to announce the project, the Prime Minister was asked to address concerns that the project is designed to help the JLP win the elections in South East St.Mary, The Prime Minister responded by saying;

This project is long in coming…long before there was even any thought that there would be a by-election in South East St.Mary. I think we should resist the temptation to have it politicized, politics doesn’t define development and prosperity.”

Last week Sunday, the People’s National Party (PNP) hosted its annual general conference at the National arena. Peter Phillips made his first address as President of the PNP. Peter Phillips succeeded Portia Simpson Miller after the PNP loss the 2016 general elections. He challenged Portia Simpson Miller twice for the leadership of the party; in 2006 and 2008. Peter Phillips has been the Member of Parliament for East Central St.Andrew since 1994. He was Minister of Health from 1995 to 1997, in 1998 he became Minister of Transport and Works. In 1999 he was Vice President of the PNP and Minister of National Security. He is also a former Minister of Finance.

Just after announcing his intention to run for President and withdrawing from the PNP Presidential race, member of Parliament for Central Manchester Peter Bunting made news when he used his current affairs programme “Probe” to ask whether Jamaica was facing economic colonialism under the Chinese? Mr.Bunting argued that Jamaican contractors and construction professionals were being crowded out of the industry by Chinese contractors operating in Jamaica. The Chinese Embassy released a statement dismissing Mr. Buntings claim as “offensive and unsubstantiated”. The PNP President and Leader of the opposition Peter Phillips issued a statement about the matter after meeting with Chinese ambassador Niu Qingbaowe. He reaffirmed the strong relationship that the PNP has with the Chinese and reiterated a commitment to mutual cooperation with the Chinese.

Westminster: Assimilating British tradition and culture

In the December 2016 general elections the JLP won one more constituency seat than the People’s National Party and Andrew Holness became Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Andrew Holness was born in 1972 in Spanish Town , St.Catherine. He is the youngest Prime Minister of Jamaica and the first Prime Minister to be born after 1962.

Andrew Holness became leader of the JLP in 2011 and Prime Minister of Jamaica when Bruce Golding resigned as Prime Minister over the handling of the Christopher Dudus Cooke extradition which led to the Tivoli Gardens incursion.He lost his first General Elections in 2011 and had to win a leadership challenge against Audley Shaw in 2013 to remain leader of the JLP.

In the 2011 elections Andrew Holness hinted that Jamaicans would have to prepare for the “bitter medicine” that was coming, he was referring to the engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) . In the 2016 elections instead of mentioning the “bitter medicine”, the JLP was preaching Prosperity.

The new Prime Minister organized his government. It is customary for executive members of the Political parties to be rewarded with Ministerial responsibility. The Chairman of the JLP, Robert Montague is Minister of National Security. Former challenger Audley Shaw is Minister of Finance. The Prime Minister created a “super ministry”; the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job creation which he heads. This Ministry has two ministers without portfolio; Dr. Horace Chang ( General Secretary JLP) and the Honourable Darryl Vaz (MP Western Portland). Mrs. Audrey Sewell is the permanent secretary and chief technical director is Oral Khan. The focus of the ministry is extensive with responsibilities for several agencies, councils and acts.

The Economic Growth Council(EGC) operates from this Ministry. Billionare Micheal Lee Chin is the Chairman of the (EGC). He is ensuring that Jamaica achieves 5% growth in 4 years or “5 in 4”. This has been the Government’s mantra “5 in 4”.

the Politics of Poverty – we have trusted politicians to have all the answers

Andrew Holness sees government and private sector working together to stimulate growth in Jamaica. In an interview with World Investment news published on September 22, 2016 on Youtube, the Prime Minister explained:

The first thing is to change the way government works. So Government in Jamaica has been very slow sometimes crippled by bureaucracy crippled by politics and in that regard i would say crippled by a politics of poverty. what do i mean by the politics of poverty. It is a sense of the historical struggle of Jamaica where the large mass of people feel disenfranchised coming out of a colonial system a plantation system where a few people control the wealth and the rest of the people had no possessions and that has translated to the modern Jamaican society where Jamaica has one of the highest levels of income inequality. Few people control all of the wealth and the majority of the people have very low incomes. And that sets a stage within the context of a democracy, of a struggle for equality, a struggle for equity in the society and this struggle for equity sometimes trumps the need for efficiency and so the only way you are going to be able to counter this dynamic of the society is for people to have access to education, proper water, proper health care, to get jobs to own land ; is that governments have to be proactive in this regard otherwise the people may never be able to self-actualized but the history of governments being proactive socially has often meant that they have been inefficient economically. So a lot of resources has gone to waste corruption has been allowed to run rampant and that is the politics of poverty and that is the politics of poverty it traps governments into making decisions using the excuse that they are doing it for the poor but the poor does not end up benefiting and after 4 or 5 decades of independence of this kind strategy the public is coming to the understanding that government needs to make fair decisions but they will need to make efficient decisions. My government will change all of that and we have started that ball a rolling by bringing to the people of Jamaica a new thought process instead of saying we are doing for the poor or we are trying to help the poor. the poor are now saying we don’t want pity, what we want is a government that makes sense. We do want handouts we want a help up. We don’t only want someone to say you love me or i love the poor, you want someone who is going to say i am going to empower you to lift yourselves out of poverty and so what we have been preaching over the last four years is the idea of prosperity. We believe that being efficient reinforces equity in the society by allowing businesses to grow we will create jobs. by allowing businesses to make profit people will get better pay but we don’t stand by a totally free market idea that if you allow markets to run on their own that the equity side will develop so at the outset we build into what we are doing…we are active in protecting the social interest of the country. So we have two planks that we stand on. 1 is to improve economic growth and job creation we consider that absolutely important as an index to be measured. but the other plank is to improve the general well being of the people. Their public safety access to health and education and their ability to fulfill and self actualized and the economic side firms are able to grow make profits fulfill their corporate social responsibility. The country will be prosperous.

Micheal Lee Chin is driven by the belief that Jamaica can return to 1969 or 1970 when the economy grew 5.4% and 11.94% respectively. Propelled by foreign direct investment in the bauxite alumina industry and tourism. This was also a time of extreme income inequality in Jamaica.


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