Reality Versus Rhetoric:

The new government of Jamaica missed a golden opportunity after its victory at the polls on December 29th 2011, to show the country that it had reformed and that it now understands the global economic conditions facing countries that were traditional economic powerhouses like the United States and France, much less small dependent countries like Jamaica.Portia could not resist the urge to reward the party faithful, so she opted to create a cabinet that was larger than the cabinet of her predecessor Bruce Golding , which she stridently criticized as too large and excessive. What is it that makes her feel that it is quite ok for her to do the very thing  she so vehemently, and stridently criticized when the shoe was on the other foot one would ask? Well those who understand Jamaican politics will tell you her party is the party which arrogantly believes that they alone should govern the country, and as such has labeled our country PNP country. On that philosophy they are much like the American Republican Party which demands that  Democrats irrespective of their mandate  given them by the electorate, must acquiesce to their every demand on  policy. To them elections have no consequence, such is the mentality of the Peoples National Party.

Swiss financial services company UBS has recently warned investors to stay away from Jamaica for now because of the change of Government and utterances made by the leadership,and as it relates to its relationship with the International Monetary fund. The warning cemented what is a well-known fact that this party that has now formed the government has always been hostile to foreign investments and that it refuses to honor international obligations entered into by its predecessors. In a synopsis UBS said, “The debt targets “will require significant and sustained fiscal effort through tough tax increases, expenditure control, including unpopular cuts in public employment, as well as divesting loss-making state companies,” .

It will be interesting to see how this statement and the agreement in place with the International Monetary Fund squares with the much vaunted JEEP which Miller and her party rode to victory at the polls. The economic realities facing the country is the same as for most countries in Europe and other parts of the world , these realities require that governments take serious hard looks at their economies and make tough nescssary adjustments in order to maintain some degree of solvency. As unpalatable as these decisions are they are nescessary and must be instituted. Jamaica is  a developing country still in the processing of establishing a workable taxation system, to date the country still has a tax system that largely pressures Government workers with the bulk of small business people paying no taxes, or at worst cheats the system blind. My point of disagreement with UBS is with it’s conclusion that tax increases must be part of the solution. Tax increases will not solve the problem what we need is a widening of the tax net to bring into compliance all those who aren’t paying their fair share. Taxing those who are already paying at a higer rate will actually constrict the tax base and result in less taxes collected.

 Other countries like Italy, Greece and Spain are also having serious economic troubles which require some austerity. Renowned Economist, New York Times Columnist and Princeton Professor Paul Krugman feels that government have a role to play in injecting capital into these troubled economies rather than adopting belt-tightening measures that eventually shrinks economies and in his view makes the problem worse.

                              Bruce Golding                               Simpson Miller

As was to be expected the Government of Portia Simpson Miller did not learn anything beyond a craven and rapacious desire for power. Once again the Intellectual Elites and other parts of civil society to include the clergy, bar association, media and other groups are giddy with excitement at the ascension of Miller to the Prime Minister’s perch for a second time in less than five years. Many are ecstatic that she has once again taken the reins of power, assailing anyone who dare suggest she is unqualified for the job, their most readily available label for dissenters are sexist, and elitist. The truth is, Jamaica may very well not be the most sophisticated country to govern, but irrespective of the lack of sophistication in a country that size, she still is functionally incapable of making the best decisions that would give the country maximum chance in any given situation. Those who worship at the altar of “SisterP” as she is called, have a legitimate argument to make when they celebrate her for climbing from the bottom of the working class, to the highest elected office in the land, that is no easy feat in Jamaica, a country still steeped in post colonial caste demarcations.  Noble though those arguments are they are not qualifications for astute leadership at that level.

Our country can ill afford to waste another 18 1/2 years while the rest of the world marches stedfastly into first world status while we continue with failed policies of social experimentation. Miller though having won 42 seats to the LaborParty’s 21 must be very careful not to interpret her mandate as carte blanche to disrespect the very people who put her in power, as she clearly did with that in your face extra large executive. She would be well advised that only forty eight percent of the electorate even bothered to turn up at the polls , so the people who bothered were those who were solidly in her corner to begin with. Voter apathy this cycle stemmed largely from their disaffection with the actions of Golding who did significant harm to the party of Bustamante .

See the achievements of the Jamaica Labor Party at link provided below.

http://www.jamaicalabourparty.com/base/

        Sir Alexander Bustamante            Edward Seaga

 In order to take advantage of any situation one must first understand that situation, she hasn’t always demonstrated that she understands the issues. After a tumultuous two terms in power beginning in 1972 and culminating in 1980 Michael Manley was unceremoniously kicked out of office, for  what everyone but the cultist that support that party will tell you was gross in misunderstanding of world affairs. Manley after his lopsided 51 to 9 seat defeat refused to contest the snap elections the Labor party of Edward Seaga called toward the end of 1983. This unprecedented move gave the labor party control  of all seats in the Parliament, Seaga was forced to appoint 8 Independent Senators  to form an opposition of sorts because of the posture of the entitled PNP led by Michael Manley, whose response was to label the government “ bogus”

            

              Norman Manley                       Michael   Manley

 Manley for the most part between 1983 and 1989 travelled and did speaking engagements in the United States and Britain. He returned to contest the Elections of 1989 and was promptly returned to Office after softening his socialist rhetoric. Manley’s win in 1989 was the beginning of an unprecedented 18 1/2  year unbroken hold on power that saw him stepping away and handing the reins to his deputy Percival James Patterson because of ill-health.

  • That 18 ½ year PNP run saw crime escalating  to a staggering proportions, each year seeming worse than the one before recording an average 1600 murders annually. This does not mean that Manley did not have an impressive progressive agenda of accomplishments.
  • The lowering of the minimum voting age to 18 years.
  • The introduction of equal pay for women.[3]
  • The introduction of maternity leave.[3]
  • The outlawing of the stigma of illegitimacy.[3]
  • The abolition of Masters and Servants Act.[3]
  • A Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act which provided workers and their trade unions with enhanced rights.[3]
  • The establishment of the National Housing Trust, which provided “the means for most employed people to own their own homes,” and greatly stimulated housing construction, with more than 40,000 houses built between 1974 and 1980.[3]
  • The introduction of free education at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.[4]
  • The introduction of subsidised meals, transportation and uniforms for schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds.[4]
  • The introduction of special employment programmes.[5]
  • The introduction of programmes designed to combat illiteracy.[5]
  • Increases in pensions and poor relief.[6]
  • The introduction of a worker’s participation programme.[7]
  • The passage of a new mental health law.[8]
  • The introduction of the family court.[8]
  • An increase in youth training.[8]
  • A reform of local government taxation.[8]
  • An upgrading of hospitals.[9]
  • The introduction of free health care for all Jamaicans.[9]
  • The establishment of health clinics and a paramedical system in rural areas.[9]
  • The establishment of various clinics to facilitate access to medical drugs.[9]
  • A significant increase in spending on education.[9]
  • An increase in the number of doctors and dentists in the country.[9]
  • An expansion of day care centres.[9]
  • The introduction of Project Lend Lease, an agricultural programme designed to provide rural labourers and small holders with more land through tenancy.[7]
  • The introduction of a National Youth Service Programme for high school graduates to teach in schools, vocational training, and the literacy programme.[7]
  • The introduction of comprehensive rent and price controls.[7]
  • The introduction of subsidies on basic food items (1973).[7]
  • The introduction of protection for workers against unfair dismissal.[7]
  • List taken from Wikipedia

These are difficult times , excesses, waste, and pay for play can no longer be the order of the day, politicians cannot fatten themselves at the expense of taxpayers while further condemning generations yet unborn  to a life of  poverty. I urge this Administration to empower the Office of Contractor General in the interest of the Jamaica people. I will not hold my breath however for this administration to do anything but fatten itself and it’s friends as it has always done with a spirt of entitlement.