Jarrett backs term limits for leaders
Arguing that Jamaica has suffered from a crisis in effective leadership, business leader Earl Jarrett has suggested that term limits could serve as the best way for addressing the systemic weaknesses inherent in the country’s governance mechanisms.
Jarrett told The Gleaner that term limits presented the kind of sweeping change needed to instil inclusiveness and transparency into the body politic of a country he believes is hungry for transformational leadership.
The Jamaica National Group CEO shared his comments after an address by retired four-star United States Army General Stanley McChrystal delivered at a lecture titled ‘Leadership in a Time of Change’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, which was attended by state officials, business leaders, and members of the security forces.
“Let’s look at it from the board level. You have men who have sat on boards for 60 years, and as McChrystal pointed out, after a certain number of years, you need to get refreshed. (McChrystal) made the point that Steve Jobs did a good job with Apple; but remember, he also had to leave Apple and then return to make that contribution,” said Jarrett.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, in 2011, that the imposition of term limits on Cabinet ministers would be a positive step for governance. In a Gleaner interview then, he reasoned that such restrictions would mean “limiting the culture of how long you spend in politics, particularly the executive”.
In the run-up to the 2007 general election, the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party promised to institute term limits for prime ministers and to establish fixed election dates.
Then in 2010, Golding tabled a bill in the House of Representatives to facilitate the imposition of term limits on the prime minister. The bill was never debated.
Jarrett said that while limits are imposed on “ordinary” Jamaicans having to deal with retirement age, it would be suitable that persons in Government are limited in how long they stay in office. “I believe Jamaica would benefit from that; our leaders in Parliament [prime minister included] having term limits.”
McChrystal, who led military commands in Iraq and Afghanistan but has become a Jackson Institute for Global Affairs senior fellow since retirement, said that good leadership must be founded on integrity, decency, and a defined vision. McChrystal also urged that those at the top must improve the lot of those at the foot of the hierarchy.