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LETTER OF THE DAY - Abolishing monarchy least of our priorities

Published:Wednesday | May 16, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I strongly question the level of prominence, at this juncture in our history, being given to Jamaica's intention of breaking ties with the British monarchy.

Unemployment, national security, health, education and the debt burden are issues of greatest concern to most Jamaicans. These should always be at the forefront of national discourse.

However, pride patently precedes pragmatism, and we have been distracted by matters of lesser importance concerning sovereignty and nationalism. These relate to the call for Jamaica to abolish the British monarchy as our head of state and to change the name of the Throne Speech.

But how will the accomplishment of these objectives (relating to sovereignty) aid in national development by increasing productivity, growing the economy, and reducing the debt burden? Sovereignty is important, but has the lack of full sovereignty been any hindrance to economic growth?

The prosperity achieved by Caribbean territories such as The Bahamas and Barbados which are independent states like Jamaica, and even the Caymans, and Turks and Caicos Islands, which are still colonies of Britain, should indicate otherwise.

Breaking point

With 54 per cent of the Budget allocated to servicing a near $1.7-trillion debt, this is clearly a huge burden stifling our economy. It is an indisputable fact that any burden carried or sustained long enough eventually becomes unbearable. A breaking point is then reached, where things come crashing down.

Pride has never prevented a fall. Our debt is still climbing and this, therefore, means every day we are one day closer to that breaking point! This should be at the forefront of our minds, and our creative and intellectual energies should be concentrated and directed, first and foremost, at preventing this calamity, by achieving prosperity and stability, and not be distracted unnecessarily by issues of sovereignty.