My post election wish list
With election day gone, Jamaica needs a government ready to cater to the various needs of the country. Our new government should understand that the people's selection is a privilege, not a right.
Thus our wish for Jamaica is really quite simple:
1 Politicians who really care about Jamaicans. As a citizen, I am convinced that some of our politicians are only into politics for the high that comes with power. I don't get the feeling that all have our genuine concerns and Jamaica's development at heart. We would love to see politicians take a stand for issues and make decisions that benefit the country, not the party, even if that means voting against their own colour.
2 Continue with the policies that are good. Yes, our Government-elect may have its own priorities, but existing programmes/policies that are agreeably progressive should be kept and developed upon.
3 Cleaner/more respectful politics and politicians please. The child's play, name-calling and general disrespect of each other must stop. I'd love to see true statesmen and women.
4 More emphasis/a national strategy/targeted approach for parenting support and development of parenting skills. This may mean more resources for the National Parenting Support Commission's initiatives, but consider the invaluable rewards to be reaped when the family, the foundation, is buttressed.
5 Change government selection. Jamaicans should be allowed to vote for members of parliament (MPs) and the prime minister separately. This process will allow us to hold our MPs accountable, because the truth is, Jamaicans tend to vote for the 'government', not the MPs.
6 Improve water supply to Jamaicans overall and develop sustainable and proactive plans to handle the country's now inevitable drought periods. We have very bright engineers, get them brainstorming on how best to harness the water that surrounds us. Then act on it!
7 Do more at the school level with tourism by instilling pride in our youth. There is a link between appreciation of culture and the care and pride taken in preserving our tourist product. When people appreciate and understand their culture and heritage, chances are they will take better care of their island home. There should be focus on letting children understand the importance of monuments, national symbols, our works of art and the environment generally. Tourism is our greatest earner.
8 Expose boys to the values of discipline through perhaps military or martial-arts practices.
9 Deal with backlog in the judicial system. As Peter Tosh said, no justice, no peace.
10 Overhaul the health system, even if that requires reinstating user fees.
11 Make an effort to engage those given over to cynicism for the political system, forgetting the rhetoric, as a refusal to do so will only lead to the ultimate demise of true democracy.
12 Seek to encourage entrepreneurship in Jamaica. It's the leap needed for self-sufficiency. Currently faced with double-digit unemployment rates, the need to create jobs is one of the major pressures in the economy. Entrepreneurs help to alleviate this situation, but there remains a need to foster a more suitable environment for the development and sustainability of small businesses. As we look at tax reform, we could perhaps offer new small businesses a moratorium on taxes for at least the first year.
13 When ministers do not perform, shift them out immediately. Take no prisoners.
14 Include social graces in the primary-school curriculum.
15 Can we have more real and consistent patrols on our roads (not the policemen with another agenda), especially at known hot spots. There are too many drivers getting away with accident causing, crazy driving daily.
16 We need to continue to weed out corrupt cops with unyielding focus on the 'beggy-beggy, licky-licky' ones who thrive on acts of bribery.
As our new government, remain committed and willing to do things differently - our country can truly become great. We all know that we Jamaicans have what it takes, if only.
- Melody Cammock-Gayle is the director of MC&A - a marketing and communications firm. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org..