Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Constitutional reform a must before 2030

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2015 | 10:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The failure of our political leaders to notice the decay of our democracy is no mere oversight; rather, it is an omission of a selfish nature which comes with the territory of the Jamaican political leadership that puts self before constituents and nation. The idea that the system is for the powerful few, and not the majority, has sent the constitutional reform discussion into the 'soft issues' or 'that cyaa eat' grey area of the Jamaican consciousness.

The internal power struggles of the past several weeks in the two major political parties cannot and should not be passed along as simple politicking, especially after the unfortunate fiery climax in Raymond Pryce's North East St Elizabeth constituency.

Another unpleasant example included

Dr Lynvale Bloomfield losing his candidate-selection race then being reinstated after a strong showing on an internal poll. The People's National Party's general secretary tried to explain that the candidate selection was an "indicative" ballot due to the constituency being "provisional". The action of the party would have affected any layperson's grasp of democracy.

It must be seen for what it is - a complete disregard for democratic principles, and glaring mistrust in our political system and institutions.

TIME TO REDOUBLE EFFORT

With the shady inner workings of the political parties on full display, there must be redoubled effort to improve our governance structure through constitutional reform.

The recent calls by the private sector have only reinforced the need for the Parliament of Jamaica - both the Government and the Opposition - to embrace and concentrate on constitutional reform. The modernisation of Jamaica's democratic principles and processes has not kept apace with the rest of the developing world, or those nations we aspire to be by 2030.

The Partnership for Jamaica agreement states that signed parties must "reaffirm and recommit to the principles of social dialogue and partnership, specifically to further the process of deepening democracy and participatory decision-making".

Citizens, the private sector, civil society, the Church and other internal forces, must bring pressure on all individual candidates for elected office and their affiliated political organisations to commit to the execution of constitutional reform before 2030. It is ultimately the hands of Parliament that must be moved to set controls upon themselves and empower the majority.

Mario Boothe