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Electors want a nanny-state government

Published:Friday | March 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM


BASED ON the outcome of the local government elections, the further-left socialist philosophy of the People's National Party has, yet again, prevailed over the centre-left socialist philosophy of the Jamaica Labour Party and leads to the arguable conclusion that the current Jamaican electorate prefers a 'nanny-state government'. The nanny-state government run by a populist leader, however, can only work well with an economy that is not poor. The anaemic state of the Jamaican economy cannot realise the demands of the Jamaican people in the government formula they have chosen ... the result will be even more poverty.

The local government apparatus, as it has operated these past two decades, is obsolete and a grand waste of taxpayers' money. There are approximately 228 locally elected councillors at an annual salary of more than US$3 million. The empirical evidence of a local government apparatus controlled by one political party while central government is controlled by another political party in the current dispensation is political gridlock.

Difficult to persuade

The local government apparatus is set up to meet the demands of the people on a community basis. However, almost all the resources of the state are in the hands of the central government, despite legislation that allocates resources to the local government councillors. If the central government in essence controls almost all the resources of the state and allocates to their councillors who support their political party, it follows that it would be difficult to persuade electors to vote for one party to control local government knowing that another party controls central government.

The de-resourcing of the local government apparatus makes an even more compelling case for a restructuring of it. The local government proposal to have three local government councils for the counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey makes a lot more sense than the current system. It is proposed that a local government council should consist of seven councillors per county, with a mayor per country elected from amongst the councillors.

Ultimately, the Jamaican electorate, in the main, exercise their franchise based on their perceptions of how state benefits flow to meet their individual demands, irrespective of the structure of government.

Kent Gammon