Fri | Oct 20, 2017

CCJ and election

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

There is a convergence of factors in Jamaica. All are in train to influence the future in different, but significant and practical ways.

Regarding the Senate debate on the adoption of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as our final court of appeal, congratulations to the Opposition JLP in the arguments presented and the fact that there will be no accession to the CCJ by us in the near future.

This attempt to impose the CCJ was always going to be one important step in the further integration of the country into the Caribbean with a view to the creation of a political union. We do not want it. We do not need it. And we must work to put CARICOM, currently on life support, out of its misery.

Let me repeat: I believe in alignment for those aspects that provide tangible benefits. Trade, diplomacy, disaster mitigation readily come to mind. But Jamaica must retain its national identity.

We have no contiguous borders. We have a multifaceted culture and cuisine.

Let us resolve to remove the Queen as head of state and move to republican status with the attendant constitutional reforms. Think and debate our issues, including a fixed election date, term limits for elected representatives, and job descriptions for members of parliament.

There is nothing sacrosanct in having a third-tier final appellate court. If one can provide persuasive, rational reasons for a third-tier court, let us set a target date to implement same, then all the reasons for the CCJ will be moot.

The partisan political arena is in a state of unrest. The people have heard the statements about their supposed rights to name their respective representatives. When they seek to give life to the guest, the response is not as automatically accepted as they thought.

The people of Eastern Portland in the PNP camp have lost. The people in South West St Elizabeth have retained Hugh Buchanan. The people of North East St Elizabeth have forced the removal of Raymond Pryce, and Christopher Tufton is still to be placed. However, it was interesting to hear the leader of the PNP admonish the Comrades to "cut the nonsense". The language allegedly used speaks volumes of the esteem, or lack thereof, of the views of the people.

This trend will only increase as people realise that they do have some power and they have the ultimate ability to exercise that power by way of the ballot. Could it be that in the future, you will not be selected to contest a parliamentary election unless you live in the constituency for some time?

Andrew Holness, Portia Simpson Miller and others should be seeking new residences soon. Time to follow the lead of Peter Bunting and Floyd Green. As an aside, has anyone in Eastern Portland sought to find out the impact Andrea Moore had on West Rural St Andrew before those elders embraced her?

Indecision abounds regarding the election date. Go. Stop. Go. No, wait. The intervention has not yet been felt; the Almighty has not yet made the touch. Nonetheless, that has not reduced the scurrying in the constituencies, so much that they could not find three members for a quorum out of the 17 members for a committee meeting at Gordon House on Thursday.

So what we seem to prefer is an extended campaign of four or five years, and that means the Lower House and the Senate would be short of a quorum at all times. Just think: With a fixed election date, those not planning to seek re-election would only attend with the frequency enough to avoid their seats being declared vacant. The succeeding aspirant would have years to foist themselves on the people. The people would have years to holler. Who would be in charge of getting things done for the constituency in such a scenario?

I would miss the prime minister's deliberation leading up to the 'divine' date. This is Jamaica.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to reduce the primary surplus target from 7.5% to 7.25% over two years. This is great news in that it frees up about J$12 billion over a period of two financial cycles, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

Let us get the engine going full speed to accelerate the required growth for the country. Let us make a concerted effort to do some real infrastructure projects. Let us get the multiplier effect in the next two years flowing through the economy.

Once we get the public-service payroll down from the 10.3% to 9%, we will really begin to see and feel the tangible results of the necessary hardships that have been visited upon us.

All of the above will impact our future. It is up to us to secure our future.

- Ronald Mason is an attorney-at-law and mediator in the Supreme Court. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and nationsagenda@gmail.com.