The parliamentarians now moaning under the weight of expectations from their constituents miss the point in their pleas for public education about the structure and operation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
If they were to apply robustly critical thought to the matter, MPs would soon conclude that the CDF - and any like scheme - is the problem.
A more appropriate and relevant political project, therefore, would be a debate on the reorientation of political representation in a liberal democracy - a position to which we had assumed that Dr Donald Keith Duncan had graduated.
Dr Duncan, who at times during the height of his political powers in 1970s and '80s branded himself a revolutionary socialist, is now the chairman of the parliamentary committee that oversees the CDF.
This week, he told his members that there were "certain forces in the society who were not in favour of the CDF, no matter how well it was run".
Those "certain forces", of course, would include this newspaper, although we do not include ourselves among the shadowy, plutocratic interests that such a term, used in this context, would usually evoke, even if we do not believe that to be Dr Duncan's intent.
By way of reminder, the CDF is a sum of money set aside in the Government's Budget from which each parliamentarian can draw on for projects in his/her constituency. The spend is substantially at the MP's discretion. It ranges from assisting with a child's school fees to the repairing of roads.
Recently, a number of first-time MPs have been subjected to withering criticism from supporters who insist on different priorities, including helping with personal financial problems, in spending taxpayers' money.
"Most people still believe that an MP has in his pocket to give to people and to spend," lamented Andre Hylton, a rookie MP.
The deeper problem, though, is not voters' miscomprehension of the administration of the CDF. It is the fact that the CDF was designed to underpin the concept of the MP as benevolent provider. Indeed, parliamentarians evolved a vocabulary to reinforce that idea of themselves as benefactors: "I allocated this and that portion of MY CDF, etc. ... ."
This personalised delivery of state resources, whose accumulation is contributed to by the whole society, allows the parliamentarian to transcend his job as lawmaker/executive and constituency advocate and to usurp the role of the professional bureaucracy.
OPPORTUNITY FOR CORRUPTION
Blurring the lines of responsibility between the politician and bureaucrat weakens accountability, creates opportunity for corruption, and widens the door to the exercise of political patronage.
We would, therefore, suggest to the Dr Dayton Campbells of Parliament that they repudiate the CDF and allow for its nearly $1 billion to be channelled into the various social safety net programmes run by the State. MPs can keep a database of these agencies, providing their constituents with information of what is available and offering technical help, where warranted, in accessing them.
In Parliament, they must advocate for policies that generate economic growth and create jobs, thus reducing poverty and the need for the seemingly cherished role as the deliverers of charity.
Generating sustained economic growth has been the signal failure of Jamaica's politicians and governments over the past 40 years. For this, the CDF is no credible substitute.
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