Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Calling for urgent reform

Published:Monday | November 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Calling for urgent reform


In recent times, there has been serious debate on whether Jamaica should break out and go republic on the 'mother country'. But we fail to see that this proposal is more than just changing one relic of the past to create a relic for the future also known as the rubber-stamp president.

A recent Bill Johnson poll revealed that 82 per cent of Jamaicans want to directly elect the prime minister, indicating the magnitude of political reform Jamaicans want. But I would go a step further and say that the political system, the administration of justice, and political culture need urgent reform.

There should be greater separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. The executive should be appointed by a president and approved by the Senate. Many self-serving politicians, young and old, may disagree, but in this system, it guarantees that qualified individuals are ministers and the ability for the Cabinet to be diverse, representing different parts of civil society and not just the elitist club of members of parliament who need little qualification to be elected and are sometimes later tasked to 'run' ministries they don't understand.

Our judicial system, the living fossil, also needs urgent reform. Even though it has started, the transformation should be accelerated.

Our laws need to be updated and checked against the Constitution; titles such as Queen's Counsel should be abandoned and our Supreme Court judges must be able to satisfy the needs of Jamaicans living outside of Kingston.

It may appear to some as abandoning everything British, but the real question is how British are we if you need a visa to travel to the 'mother country' while terrorists flow easily in from eastern Europe? How British are we when the Privy Council has made it clear that we should not overstay our welcome?

The idea that Jamaicans are British subjects is laughable and should indicate that we need to let go of 'massa' coat-tail.