Wed | Mar 29, 2017

The dependent independents ...

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Kevin Simmonds, Guest Columnist

When you think of Jamaica as a human being, you would expect that at 52 years of age at least Jamaica would be a mature state with many experiences to guide her in her decision-making process. You would hope that at this age Jamaica would have decided on a path that would bring some amount of prosperity to her people, a path that is progressive, not perfect, just progressive. At 52, one would expect Jamaica to understand what it takes to successfully wean her from the bosom of international aid and the resulting dictating by donors.

Independence Day celebrations has been a mask over the years, hiding the fact that Jamaica has not significantly progressed on a year-to-year basis since been granted independent status from English rule and governance. Our leaders are still not mature enough to accept that developing, structuring and positioning Jamaica on a path to sustained growth is paramount to gaining political power by any one person or party. Our leaders after 52 have still not grasped the principle of progressive partnering by politicians with different ideological beliefs for the benefit of nation building and prosperity. Lacking in our leaders is the maturity to accept that growing a nation, structuring and positioning a nation on a path of sustainable growth requires growing people and helping them realise their full potential. This involves the willingness of all our leaders to grow all people with no regard for political affiliation, because we all win when the nation wins and we all lose when the nation loses.

Global political system

I am convinced that Jamaica is old enough to realise that we are competing in a rapidly changing world, a changing world that has led to the evolution of a sophisticated global political system, a system that is less tribal and divisive. The new global political system has at its core partnerships at all levels, community partnerships that eliminate borders and tribes, social partnerships that bring together citizens, the private and public sectors. Gone are the days of nation-specific political order, and in the case of Jamaica, one characterised by confrontation, tension and malice. Jamaica is old enough to adapt to a political system that has brought prosperity to once-impoverished nations. When one thinks of the BRIC nations and their journey to admirable GDP growth, Jamaica possesses all the elements to enjoy similar if not even better GDP growth. What is missing, however, is political maturity, defined priorities and a defined strategy capable of motivating and uniting the country around the common goal of nation building.

So as we once again get ready to take part in our traditional independence celebrations, we should pause for a second and reflect on if at 52, and given the state of our economy and political system, have we really grown from 1962? Sure, we have grown older, but have we truly leveraged the many experiences we have had? Are we more aligned with the principles of prospering states, or are we still aligned to an ancient divisive political system that limits economic growth?

At 52, Jamaica should be old enough to break away from the shackles of a restrictive antiquated ideology and embrace a modernised global system, that is forcing countries to innovate to prosper.