Mon | Oct 2, 2023

Letter of the Day | The Government seems to be leading from behind

Published:Friday | May 26, 2023 | 12:16 AM


I watched Nigel Clarke on ‘All Angles’ struggle with Dionne Jackson Miller when asked about the massive salary increases for Jamaican politicians, relative to others in the Caribbean. Clarke tried to justify the increases, boasting that Jamaica was the only country (in the region) to complete a comprehensive public service salary review and that Jamaica (unlike the others) was resilient and bounced back economically from COVID-19, which enabled them to afford the increases.

This made no sense considering that Jamaica has one of the lowest GDP per capita in the region, pre- and post-COVID-19. How could anyone in government think these levels of increases were OK? They are justified in getting an increase, but 100-200 per cent plus is absurd. It also does not make any sense now, that the PM decided to waive his increase. How can the MPs and ministers earn more than the PM? And does it really matter if the leader of Opposition take 20 per cent of his increase and donate the balance of 80 per cent? As for the governor general being paid $34 million per annum, this is absolutely ridiculous.

What we are seeing is a government leading from behind, they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t think things through strategically and logically. Remember when they rushed NIDS legislation which had to be aborted after it was ruled unconstitutional by the court? The reformed NIDS is still being rushed, where biometric data and facial imagery will be captured under the guise of digitalisation.

Legislation was announced to mandate child car seat restraint on public vehicles, they also tried to block access of cabinet documents for up to 70 years; Government had to backtrack these legislation, following public outrage. They announced plans to spend $422 million on a marketing campaign to boost COVID-19 vaccination which they had to abort due to the backlash. People have not forgotten about Kamina Johnson Smith’s failed bid to oust Baroness Patricia Scotland for the position of Commonwealth Secretary General which cost the country $43 million. The amount of money wasted frivolously over the years could’ve been much better spent in other areas, benefiting Jamaicans.

If the Government leads from the front, they will learn to make better decisions, find solutions based on critical thinking and analysis, and ultimately lead by example. They must realise by now that people are not stupid.