Letters to the Editor

Building a better Jamaica

Wednesday, October 03, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

The government should be aggressively mobilising the entire population to build a better Jamaica. Many of the bigger problems require huge amounts of money that can be acquired only by further borrowing and increased national indebtedness. Yet a great number of schemes can be done by local initiatives or by inviting foreign entrepreneurs.

To begin with, the government should set up a small task force that would ask people all across the island what they want done with the utmost urgency. This inquiry should produce hundreds, if not thousands of needed projects. The division would then evaluate these proposals for cost, feasibility and value to the community. Then it could establish a priority of the selected projects as well as a timetable for getting the projects done.

One example illustrates the way in which a simple project could be extended to be a self-sustaining community-wide operation. Imagine that a community wanted a new elementary school and submitted that request. On receiving the request, the office would verify the need as genuine. Then it would ascertain the skills pool in the community to build the school. The community might very well already have an architect and an experienced contractor, or know of someone close at hand. These would calculate the appropriate size, style and cost of the school. There are usually three sets of costs involved: design, material, and labour. The office could require that the community contribute the labour while the government would find the resources to complete the project.

At the same time, the task force would facilitate the new school in getting teachers, school supplies, and food for the students. In this way, local communities would not only be empowered, but also find that a new school represents a beneficial ongoing commitment.

Edwin Watson

Kingston

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