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CaPRI calls for domestic policy adjustments to foster deeper US-Ja bilateral relations

Published:Sunday | September 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) has called for changes to be made to aspects of domestic policy in the areas of national security, governance, trade and investment, health care, and social rights, arguing that the changes would be needed to foster deeper bilateral relations between Jamaica and the United States.

The recommended changes are outlined in Dialogues Between Democracies, the latest publication put out by the University of the West Indies-based think tank.

The publication, which was compiled from a series of talks sponsored by the United States Embassy, highlighted the challenges faced by members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

"Conscious and deliberate consideration [should be given] to the repeal of Jamaica's anti-sodomy laws," CaPRI said.

The think tank's publication, which also calls for greater provision of education and counselling programmes to LGBTI individuals and their families, says that social rights can be strengthened by "promoting meaningful dialogue and exchanges between pro-LGBTI and pro-religious groups".




According to CaPRI, priority should be given to addressing security concerns and bringing crime under control.

It has recommended that the salary structure for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force be revised and that measures be taken to reduce the demand for narcotics.

Other recommendations for increasing citizen security include increasing education exchange programmes and providing meaningful employment opportunities.

Turning its attention to issues of governance, the publication argues that real and perceived levels of corruption limit Jamaica's potential for economic development. It is for this reason that the think tank wants to see improved development assistance, accountability, increasing inter-state information sharing, and steps to rectify negative perceptions about corruption.

CaPRI further calls for improvements in the area of trade and investment through the provision of, and easier access to, information to and opportunities for local exporters and manufacturers.

The publication notes that more should be done to take advantage of Jamaica's large service sector, particularly through "support and promotion of the country as a central hub for business process outsourcing".

CaPRI has also said that that work needs to be done to put in place a regulatory framework and energy tariff structure that does not discriminate against renewable energy sources.

In the area of health care, the list of recommendations includes revitalising primary care, encouraging citizens to take charge of their health by moving more and eating healthier, reinstating user fees in the health sector more as a demand-management measure than a source of financing, and promoting the establishment of programmes that conserve the environment.