Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, we believe, was a worthy inductee into the hall of fame of the International Women's Forum, a global organisation of women that promotes better leadership around the world.
Indeed, Mrs Simpson Miller's rise through the ranks to become the leader to a major political party in Jamaica and prime minister of the English-speaking Caribbean's politically most influential country is of itself a substantial achievement.
After all, politics in Jamaica, as it is in most countries, is a male-dominated, time-consuming and often gritty business, in which women usually start at a disadvantage. It would have required special qualities for Mrs Simpson Miller to have risen to the top of her party and, ultimately, prime minister of Jamaica.
Some of those qualities, such as the prime minister's charisma, her highly developed emotional intelligence and her capacity to connect with people, are especially beneficial to her government at this time.
Those skills have helped to keep the society stable in the face of the economic austerity that forms part of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) imposed prescription for Jamaica's fiscal crisis. We, however, feel that Mrs Simpson Miller can leverage these capacities to greater effect for the recovery of the economy.
First, we do not believe that the prime minister has robustly assumed ownership of the economic programme and, given her ability to communicate with the majority of Jamaicans, has not sufficiently mobilised the country behind a set of national priorities, as she alone is capable of doing.
Among the issues behind which the prime minister must throw weight are public-sector reform, including the untangling of bureaucratic impediments to private-sector investment, tax reform, and pension reform.
The prime minister must, at the same time, act decisively to cure other potential hurdles to growth. For example, after 22 months in office, Mrs Simpson Miller will by now have developed a profile of her ministers; which of them, by virtue of his suboptimal performance is holding back the administration's growth agenda. She might find it prudent, in the circumstance, to reorganise her Cabinet.
Speak Urgently On Way Forward
Further, we expect the prime minister to speak urgently and forthrightly on the way forward for the 360-megawatt electricity-generating facility, for which the route to the current preferred bidder, Energy World International, has been mired in controversy.
This newspaper, among others, has proposed a public/private-sector oversight for the project to ensure, if it proceeds, that it does so with utmost transparency and efficiency. In stamping her authority on the issue, and given the importance of this project to the cost competitiveness of the economy, the prime minister must indicate the impact this plant will have on the price of electricity to consumers.
Mrs Simpson Miller must also provide the country with a sense of direction on the issue of crime, in the face of increased number of homicides, which, at the current rate, is likely to end this year at around seven per cent higher than 2012. That would be the first increase in four years and a reversal of the gains made after the Tivoli Gardens intervention that dislodged the crime boss, Christopher Coke, which some in this administration presumed to be a cure to violent crime in Jamaica.
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