As part of turning things around for our country we need to take a serious look at our constitution and ask some very serious questions.
1. Does it serve the interest of the people?
2. Is it the best possible system for us right now and going forward?
3. Does it have those ingredients that hold our politicians and leaders accountable?
4. Does it demand integrity, honesty and good character?
5. Does it have safe guards to prevent corrupt people from capturing the ” constitution”?
6. Does it have rules that severely punish transgressors?
7. Does it protect the rights of the people?
These are just a few on the many things that it really should do.
Now I am positing that based on what I have seen over the last 25 yrs our constitution does not serve the interest of the people.
I am therefore suggesting the following changes, which I believe can turn things around for Jamaica and we the people must demand that they happen.
1. All persons seeking to represent us must be qualified for the job they are seeking to take on. Now by qualified I do not only mean having a degree but must also have demonstrated competence in the area in which they seek leadership. No longer would we allow one man to say ” here he is your representative and I expect you to support him.
2. None of those seeking to represent should have been arrested, charged or other has been involved or party to corrupt activities including but not limited to taking bribes, embezzlement etc.
3. They should be able to be removed from their position not by the Prime Minister but by the people themselves via some sort of system (which I have not yet decided upon). It is simply ridiculous to have a member of parliament serve out his term (5yrs) when he has shown lack of proper judgement, zero integrity, improper conduct and is a non performer.
4. We must establish performance criteria for every cabinet minister, every member of parliament and every Minster that have a portfolio responsibility and this I believe is the most important change that I would like to see take place. They must be held to Key Performance Indicators and failure to meet them should see them demit office and not simply wait out their term until an election is called.
5. We must remove some of the power from the Prime Minster, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Security.
Performance Management and Report Card
1. Each cabinet minister must be held accountable for the performance of his/her ministry and must meet at least 70% of the performance target set for that minister, let me expand on that.
The Minister of Finance for example is responsible for amongst another things the macro and micro economic activity of the country ands as such must have target that can be measured.
Key Performance Indicator (Minister of Finance)
|GDP/Debt Ratio||123 – 125%||2011/2012|
|Inflation Rate||9 – 10%||2011/2012|
|Borrowing||US$ 300 – $375M||2011/2012|
|Economic growth||3.5 – 4.5%|
The same should be set for each MP and cabinet minister.
The planning institute of Jamaica would provide the data to the people of Jamaica as well as the statistical institute of Jamaica on the actual number achieved in each area.
In April of each year the each cabinet minister will be required to read his report card comparing planned targets vs achievements and give explanations where performance against target is off track and what plans he has in place to get those target back on track.
For each target that has been missed the minister must report back to the people within six months on his progress in achieve those set targets.
Where a minister has failed to meet the performance targets set for two year consecutive years, he must be removed from that position and replaced by someone else. We now must decide how this can be achieved as our present constitution only allows for this to happen if that persons has been convicted of a criminal offence and has been sentenced to prison for 6 months or greater.
The idea is that we will only get people into representational politics that are bout nation building and uplifting the people of this country. It will therefore keep away those who are only interested in wealth creation for themselves and their families.
Where one demand performance then one must be adequately compensated and the benefits must fit the position. So each MP will get a salary as well as benefits commensurate with their qualification and experience, not just get a particular salary for the position being held.
In my mind these are fundamental changes that need to be made but for it to really work, we as a people must take a stand and stop accepting mediocrity and the ” eat a food mentality”.
We have had enough of the garbage meted out to us as representation and look where it has taken us, its about time we take our place in the Caribbean.