Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Letter of the Day | CAPRI more than a talk shop

Published:Wednesday | December 5, 2018 | 12:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Sunday Gleaner editorial, which addressed the issue of road use in Jamaica, made some excellent points about lack of enforcement and implementation lags, among others. It did, however, conclude on a misleading note about the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), suggesting that the think tank's research doesn't culminate in the promotion of "explicit policy recommendations".

In fact, every single one of the roughly 60 reports we have produced to date concludes with a number of clear, actionable policy recommendations (which we diligently ensure are taken into consideration by the relevant policymakers). This being said, as we conclude a successful year 2018, we thought we would use the opportunity of this quick correction to share some facts about CAPRI.

Almost 12 years ago today, as a group of researchers got together to investigate the causes of Jamaica's underwhelming economic performance post-Independence, they identified poor policy decisions, brought on by a lack of technical capacity, as a main cause. As such, they came to the same conclusions as those rightfully stressed in the editorial: Jamaica's government lacks research capacity, and needs the support of institutions that can provide policymakers with robust, evidence-based recommendations. This is how CAPRI was born.

We are happy to have seen our work influence a number of areas of policy such as debt management, the regulation of the scrap-metal trade, the revision of the NHT's mandate, and the promotion of public-private partnerships as a solution to islandwide solid waste management struggles, to name a few.

 

Feedback tool

 

This past year, we have been working with the Government of Jamaica on the implementation of a public-service citizen feedback tool; on a deposit refund system for PET bottles; on a voucher system to subsidise care work where needed; and on the development of Jamaica's open data programme - all following the recommendations put forward in our most recent studies.

Last Wednesday, as we presented, in our final public forum of 2018, our recommendations to address the failures of Jamaica's environmental management framework, we were pleased to see Minister Daryl Vaz firmly commit to once again collaborating with us to implement them.

Of course, there is much more to be done. But as we wrap up this year, we are thankful for those who support our work.

TRACY MAMOUN

Communications Manager, CAPRI