If conception took place on election night 2011, that baby would be getting ready to enter a whole new world. Unfortunately, the new government has not done much since taking office to signifi-cantly bring hope to the soon-to-be-born baby and the nearly three million of us who live on this island.
The Simpson Miller-administration came to power on a landslide of public support after the previous government failed in its bid to bring positive change to the lives of most citizens.
Business and consumer confidence has been tumbling, joblessness continues to rise, and poverty appears to be gaining strength as it roars towards the middle class, having left the working poor flat on its face.
Despite these pressing problems facing the nation, the approach of the Parliament continues to be business as usual. We are not amused by the monthlong summer break our legislators have taken, this at a time when Rome is burning. It seems they awoke from slumber yesterday, announcing that Parliament would resume sitting next Tuesday.
One recalls that two years ago, Portia Simpson Miller led the Opposition to Parliament under similar circumstances and demanded that Bruce Golding and his fellow parliamentarians end their recess and attend to the people's business.
Aside from the fact that the Parliament needs to seriously consider ways to advance the economic position of the country, The Gavel is yet to get the feeling that Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has a handle on the major matters.
Phillips had delayed the tabling of the Budget in March, saying, among other things, that he would take it to the Parliament the same time the White Paper on tax reform is being laid. History will recall that the Budget was tabled in May, and except for a report from the committee on taxation, it appears no progress has been made on the issue of tax reform.
Finance Minister Phillips ought to be embarrassed that he has not been able to get the White Paper to Parliament some four months after it was promised. At the very least, it indicates that he, Simpson Miller, and the rest of the Cabinet continue to fiddle while consumer confidence and the net international reserves sink into an abyss.
It is an open secret that Jamaica's economy will not turn the corner unless the country is able to ink a deal with the International Monetary Fund. But getting such an agreement in place requires that the Government take prior action on critical issues such as tax and pension reform, as well as public-sector rationalisation.
Even before she took the oath of office as prime minister, Simpson Miller pledged to honour the confidence of the Jamaican people by working "unswervingly to achieve the desired growth, development, and to lift the standard of living in Jamaica.
"We have a serious responsibility to the country. We do not intend for government and governance to continue the same way as it was with Mr Golding," Simpson Miller said.
REMEMBER THESE QUOTES?
The Gavel wishes to remind Simpson Miller of the charge she gave to her ministers and ministers of state at their swearing-in in January.
"We will have to work hard and long. Ministers, ministers of state, you know me. I can go all day, all night without ceasing, so you know what is required of you. Now is not the time for joking, no time for enjoyment," Simpson Miller said.
"The Jamaican people placed their dreams, their hopes and their aspirations in our hands. We now have a responsibility to fulfil, on their behalf, our obligations," Simpson Miller said.
"You have a serious responsibility. You have no time. Get to your offices now and start the ball a-rolling. We have no time. The interest of the Jamaican people must be kept in front of each and everyone of us. On to the work, now, to your offices, and get the ball rolling," the prime minister stressed.
We wonder what would be the response of Jamaicans if they were asked, "Are you better off now than you were eight months ago?" For sure, we don't expect the Simpson Miller administration to have moved heaven and earth in the little time they have been in office.
When Parliament resumes next week, lawmakers should get off the brakes and embark on a culture of quickly moving legislation that will redound to the welfare of the Jamaican people.
Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.The Gavel returns to its usual slot as of Monday, September 10.