I WISH a number of things would happen for Jamaica in 10 years in terms of governance, policy changes and social intervention.
1. Term and age limits for elected representatives.
2. A behavioural code of conduct/standards for all elected leaders with requisite penalties.
3. Increased parliamentary sittings - our leaders need to spend more time passing legislation and tabling motions that will improve the efficacy of the country.
4. Embrace of technology and reduced bureaucracy for mundane tasks like paying taxes, applying for a passport and business formation. It takes five minutes to register a business in Estonia.
5. Ninety-five per cent tax compliance of citizens and businesses.
6. Increased citizen advocacy that can actually impact decisions involving corruption and incompetence of elected and public servants.
7 A fully developed venture-capital ecosystem and greater access to credit for citizens and entrepreneurs.I would like to see 10 per cent annual GDP growth, more stringent immigration policies, a cleaner country, a crime-free country, and protected areas - both marine and subterranean.
In the area of social intervention, there should be the creation of a major facility in central Jamaica for the housing, treatment and rehabilitation of the mentally ill and indigent. No other country treats their citizens with the disregard that we do.
There should be a voluntary sterilisation programme for persons below certain means after three children, and the construction of a state-of-the-art prison with implemented programmes where they give back to society. There exists sufficient technology to track inmates who would be in such a programme.
We should implement the appropriate data-management systems to automate everyday processes mentioned above, he said.
To increase tax compliance, we need to make it simpler for people to understand and pay taxes. If we increase consumption taxes and reduce income tax, it would greatly reduce our need to borrow and beg our way out of our circumstances. In 2008, our tax deficiency was some $138b, while our loan repayment and debt obligation was $140b.
We have too many undocumented workers entering the country and setting up businesses without proper contribution to the country and adherence to the proper treatment of Jamaican workers.
In 10 years, I believe we will look back and wonder how we used to do things the way we do them now; our children will ask, for example, why would you enter a bank, or sit and wait for a passport, and therein lies the opportunities for today's budding entrepreneurs.
- Julian Patrick