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O for a gov't of excellence!

Published:Friday | March 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM


JAMAICA AND other nations are overwhelmed by mountains of problems, whether they be crime and violence, poverty and starvation, unemployment and joblessness, social and ethical decay or injustice, and so the citizens naturally look to governments to fix these problems. But people have cynical views of governance the world over.

Here are examples of cynical comments concerning governments:

"The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government," says Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent, clergyman and social reformer.

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys," P.J. O'Rourke, America's leading political satirist and the best-selling author of 12 books.

"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem," proffers Milton Friedman, American economist, statistician, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

Since Jamaica's independence in 1962, we have had successive administrations of government, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP, 1962-1972), People's National Party (PNP, 1972-1980); JLP (1980-1990), PNP (1990-2007) and currently in office the JLP (2007-present). Already there is a not-so-loud clamour for a change. Every government promises much but delivers too little. Is there a country where the majority of the people are truly satisfied and are fully behind their government?

The overarching results of collective governance bring the world to war and the brink of annihilation, presides over famine and devastation, possibly the biggest economic decline in history, unsustainable economic pursuits that degrade the environment, some government have murdered, imprisoned, victimised millions of their citizens and accomplished all manner of evil against the people they swore to protect and make their lives better.

Is there no hope?

So what's the problem with government? Why can't they accomplish what they proposed when seeking office? Out of office, they flay the inabilities and ineffectiveness of incumbents but once in, they are met with similar criticisms.

We desperately need a government that delivers on its promises, one whose actions bring hope to a wary people. Yet, human history holds no hope of such a government in this life and as one great man opined such "is but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained". Conclusion? Man is incapable of good government, incapable of ruling himself.

We have had alternating governments in Jamaica (1962-2010), with the two major political parties headed by admirable leaders with good intentions. We have elected mostly professional men and women, and have had at our disposal premium human and abundant natural resources but our quality of life leaves a lot to be desired.

O for a government of excellence for Jamaicans desire a much better quality of life.

I am, etc;