Let's see the report cards of the new MPs

Thursday, September 04, 2014

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OUR latest set of elected officials have just completed a little over a half of their constitutional term in office and there are mixed views from near and far regarding their performance as members of parliament.

Those team members of whom we speak involve not just members of parliament of the governing People's National Party, but also of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, who, though not holding the reins of power, are also held accountable by the people who elected them.

Our primary focus is centred on first-time members of parliament, who, having got the political baptism of their lives, now have a chance to chart their way forward and, in the process, decide whether or not it is worth their while to stay in the political arena.

As there is no system of recall in the Jamaican parliamentary set-up, we would welcome a report card from those elected, telling us just what they have done over the past two-and-a-half years, and what they intend to achieve for the remainder of the time that the electorate has empowered them to stay at Gordon House -- the seat of Jamaica's Parliament.

MPs like Mr Hugh Buchanan, Mr Raymond Pryce, Mr Paul Buchanan, Dr Andrew Wheatley, Ms Denise Daley, Mr Richard Parchment, Mr Keith Walford, Mr Jolyan Silvera, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, Mr Andre Hylton, Dr Winston Green, Mr Patrick Atkinson, Mr Lloyd B Smith, Mrs Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, Mr Arnaldo Brown, Dr Dayton Campbell, and Mr Damion Crawford, in particular, are under the microscope even more than their colleagues who have sat in the political winners' circle before.

They are the ones who will be rigorously assessed by the voters and, if they do not come across as convincing in their daily activities, their political future could be blunted in just over two years' time -- providing Mrs Simpson Miller does not call an early election.

We have already heard of some of the projects that have been implemented by some first-time MPs and they are indeed commendable.

Mr Pryce, though under pressure from within his own party structure, seems to be piloting some useful programmes in North East St Elizabeth. Dr Campbell stood out with his free back-to-school medical programme in North West St Ann. Mr Hugh Buchanan, a trained sports specialist, is fully behind the Treasure Beach sports development. Mr Parchment has been championing the cause of his South East St Elizabeth farmers and trying to improve the water supply there, and Mr Paul Buchanan's fixing of the Red Hill to Rock Hall main road, improvement of health and early childhood centres, and his piloting an attractive information technology programme in West Rural St Andrew are all good. And Dr Wheatley is said to be very active in his St Catherine consituency.

However, we have also heard of several deficiencies in some of the same, as well as other constituencies across Jamaica, which could overshadow any positive achievement.

Although we do not believe that MPs should be sticking their necks out in trying to find employment for their people, they should, as best as possible, try to facilitate the process and pave the way for investment possibilities that will result in employment and redound to their benefit. The days when MPs merely look about water supply, road improvement and the supply of electricity are over. Much more is required of them.

So we welcome MPs to get in line and submit their list of achievements to the people who put them in parliament, a move that we hope will not show blank for any of them. It is that list, after verification is done, that could ultimately decide whether or not they are living on borrowed time in the rugged political jungle that is Jamaica.




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