JaRistotle | Re-inventing government
The best player of the sport is invariably the one on the sideline watching the entire game, whether the game be football, cricket or politics. I make no apologies for being the best politician under the circumstances, given that I am not seeking votes and have not had to sell my soul for same. That said, I am sure you agree with me that our system of government needs a major overhaul. Too much dead weight and 'ole bruk' in our politics, and more so in our Parliament.
In Mark Wignall's article, 'Prime Minister, is our bet on you still good?' (Sunday Gleaner 17 December 2017), he asked the question, 'Where is your value-added, Prime Minister?'. That is a very good question, the answer to which should be examined from a number of different perspectives.
Mr Wignall addresses some of these perspectives, and I refer to where he speaks to "whilst some politicians are plainly over the hill, the willingness of ministers [of Government] to buy into new, workable solutions to our national policy problems is usually conversely proportional to the hedge size of their egos [which is what] makes the 'typical' politician in power tick".
So, back to the question of Prime Minister (PM) Holness and his value-added. Firstly, the PM is working against a number of odds, the first being his party's reality. You will recall that he has had to stave off one internal challenge to his leadership, and those who were aligned against him have not gone to pasture. Second, his government has a slim majority in Parliament, and he has had to utilise many of his internal detractors to run various ministries and programmes; not the ideal.
Unfortunately for us, many of these appointees are washed-up, over-the-hill, ego-burdened individuals who are able to hold the PM to ransom: gimme a wuk or mi cross di floor. Aside from the half-lame and the lazy, there are some absolutely obnoxious ones in the mix as well.
Thank goodness for modern medicine which allows many of them to be able to walk much less remember dem name, and since is we ah pay fi dem medicine, dem nah give it up just soh. Tell yuh di truth, di other side nuh look so good either, even wid dem beauty queen. Nuff ole bruk still deh over there ah seek comradeship from us.
STRATEGIC REVIEW NEEDED
When we gained independence, we inherited systems that were sound in structure, and quite understandably, our successive governments have sought to make adjustments to these structures over the years. However, I must question the logic and motive for some of the changes I have witnessed, as, in many instances, changes were made for change sake, or were inspired by less-than-honourable reasons. People, we really do need to have a strategic review of our governance structure and systems.
Is the Westminster model still suitable for us? If we had an independently elected executive · la prime minister, who was unencumbered in choosing his Cabinet without having to resort to ole bruks, would we not be moving in a more positive direction? And if the ole bruks wanted to cross the floor in vexation, so what? The PM would still be the PM!
Successive PMs have undertaken initial appointments and reassignments of ministers as part of the course of their stewardship of their governments; however, these decisions have often come with costly and questionable dissolution, merging and creation of ministries. Aside from the costs associated with renaming ministries and reassigning scores of public servants, there is the issue of breakdown in the continuity of programmes, or their total disregard, a considerably wasteful reality. It is high time that we cease having the tail wag the dog and wasting time and taxpayers' money with government structures which are constantly evolving at the politicians' convenience rather than for the national good. We need permanent structures in government, fixed ministries, departments and agencies which should only be changed where the interests of the nation so require.
Prime Minister Holness, my bet is still on you, but yuh have fi get wid it and mek the right moves: a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and yuh have some ole rusty links dat going bruk down the bus. One stop driver, let dem off!
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