Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) has accused the country's two main political parties of steering clear from implementing a number of critical reform measures over the years because of the possible political backlash.
Addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the newspaper's North Street offices last Monday, the JCSC, while highlighting the needs for several of the proposed reform measures to take effect, said the country's political leadership has postponed making tough decisions "because the important thing is to win elections".
Reforms long overdue
The coalition pointed to the long overdue public-sector and pension reforms as two critical areas that successive governments have shied away from addressing.
"It is not accidental that it is taking us this long to do a public-sector reform to engage public-sector pension reform as a serious dialogue with the trade unions," JCSC Chairperson Carol Narcisse said.
She added: "It is because the focus is on the next election and not on the things that are going to redound to the welfare of the country."
Horace Levy, a member of the Peace Management Initiative, argued that the focus of the political parties has always been on maintaining power. He said this is even more evident in the failure of successive administrations to undertake critical governance issues such as local-government reform.
"We have refrained from democratising local government and therefore the people at the base, the community people, have been denied a voice in the decision-making," Levy said.