IF WE had taken our last dollar to Just Bet and wagered on Gregory Mair to resurrect and energise the Economy and Production Committee of Parliament, we would have then had to resort to mendicancy.
Mair took the title as chair of the sessional committee but put little effort in leading it.
And having achieved nothing as chair; and having failed to advance the cause of the Jamaican people by ensuring the Economy and Production Committee is functional, Mair resigned.
Before Parliament went on summer break nearly a month ago, Leader of Opposition Business in the House, Delroy Chuck, said Mair had been forced to give up the job because he had other commitments.
It was also announced that Karl Samuda would take over leadership of the committee.
We hope and pray that Samuda will demonstrate the leadership and intellectual fortitude, for which he is known, in ensuring that the committee carries out its functions.
Similarly, we hope that Samuda will have that fixity of purpose, standing as chairman of the committee.
One will recall that Mair was appointed chairman of the Economy and Production Committee last November, 10 months after it was formed.
Mair got the job after his colleague, Everald Warmington, refused to take up the chair, claiming he had not been consulted prior to the appointment.
The Economy and Production Committee is charged with the responsibility of examining policy documents and statements from ministers and government agencies on the economy.
The committee also has the responsibility of examining legislative proposals on the economy and to make recommendations to the Cabinet, through the legislation committee.
We hope that when Parliament returns from the summer break next month, Samuda will race to the chambers and set the wheel in motion for the resurrection of the committee.
There is no doubt that current economic times require a targeted approach by the Parliament, in particular, to assist in steering this economic ship which appears to be adrift.
If there is any doubt that Jamaica's economic house needs to be put in order, then perhaps we need to take a look at the latest unemployment statistics.
Figures released by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) on Thursday indicate that unemployment rose to 16.3 per cent in April this year, up almost two percentage points over figures for the same period last year.
The figures showed that unemployment among youth, aged 14-24 years, rose to 38.5 in April 2013 from 34.1 per cent in April 2012, a 4.1 percentage point increase.
STATIN attributed the increase in the unemployment rate to an additional 38,900 persons joining the labour force.
Only 8,700 of them were able to find jobs, adding 30,200 persons to the unemployment roll.
Clearly, these are not the most flattering figures. It is time to ramp up production so that jobs can be created, thereby paving the way for a return to the illusive economic growth.
The answer to our problems lies in increasing productivity, and the Parliament must set the tone in this regard.
Over to you, Mr Samuda.
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