Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Time to decentralise government

Published:Saturday | September 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Kindly permit me to share with your readers my perspective on the way we are governed in Jamaica. It is my view that it is impossible for members of parliament (MPs) to represent their constituents in any meaningful way, given the way constituencies are defined.

The political construct called a constituency serves to provide an opportunity for elected representatives to be in Parliament. This has nothing to do with representing the people who elected them. There is no official reporting mechanism for MPs to take the views of their constituents to Parliament and report back to the people. The people play no active role in determining the destiny of this nation. It is time to bring parishes and counties into our governance structure.

Portmore should be treated as a parish. Thus, we would have 15 parishes. The counties should be autonomous and pay money to a central fund for national use. In other words, decentralise government.


The parish and county representatives should be the parliamentarians. The prime minister should be elected by the people. Every county should have its own ministries, for example, education, security, and so on. I have not provided all the details, but the general idea is here and enough points made to begin the discussion.

Why is a change necessary? What we have been doing for the past 50 years has not worked, will not work, and cannot work. Crime would be less of a challenge if each county was able to deal with crime in its own way.

Some MPs would love to do more for the good of their constituents, but the system precludes this.

Are we willing to at least take a serious look at our governance structure with a view to changing things for the better?

Let the discussion for a new governance structure begin in Jamaica. Are we ready?