Less fat, but still unhealthy
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I NOTE with great interest The Gleaner's sustained editorial campaign denouncing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) as amounting to nothing but a con-venient avenue through which to distribute political pork.
To be fair, the CDF is much less pork barrel than its predecessor, the Social and Economic Support Programme. And with the CDF, there are at least measures, though not perfect, to provide for the better management and oversight of the programme.
Nevertheless, I am not a huge supporter of the CDF or any such programme that puts our politicians in the forefront of directly addressing our people's basic or everyday needs. This, in my view, makes a mockery of political representation and probably discourages many well-intentioned people from getting involved in the process to help advance national development.
Not a politician's job
It ought not be the responsibility of our politicians to become directly, the social caregivers or welfare officers of the people of this country. Sadly, by being such a long-standing practice, many of our people genuinely believe that such is the job of their political representatives. Similarly, many of our politicians willingly embrace the practice as a part of their responsibility, perhaps because they do not know any better.
I would have expected that, as part of the changed course, there would have been some real effort on the part of the political directorate to foster that change in the mindset of our people and of our politicians so too affected. But, then again, perhaps the political directorate is similarly challenged in its appreciation for so attending to the people.
Our politicians must be made to focus on being legislators and actual representatives of the people's collective interests, leaving the caregiver role to state agencies so empowered. Our politicians must be made to understand those roles, as their jobs would be made easier and Jamaica better off for it.
In light of the foregoing, I believe the CDF, though well intentioned, should be disbanded and the funds redirected to the relevant state agencies to be so used.
I am, etc.,
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER