Systemic change required: The poor are never a priority

Monday, August 26, 2019

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Dear Editor,

According to Niccolo Machiavelli, a 16th century political philosopher (scientist), “The primary object of the politician, or any member of the ruling elite, is always the same — to cement, to augment, and to increase their power.”

It's not that politicians don't do good, but they take action mainly to gain power.

All the sociological and historical evidence support my hypothesis: Politicians address poverty not necessarily to decrease or increase it; whichever support their primary reason to get into politics — power and privilege.

Unless someone is naive they won't enter politics to end poverty, because politics is defined by how power and resources are distributed in a society, and people who enter politics crave power.

In no country in the world are the poor a priority.

The Scandinavian countries have the best mix of ruling elite and ruled, but even in those countries power and privilege dominate; they are just better regulated.

My position is that the very constitution and laws of every country are designed to create a ruling elite. It is just how much the ruled are willing to tolerate.

I believe the constitution and laws of Jamaica are biased to those with resources. The mere fact that if a person cannot afford a high-powered lawyer it means he/she cannot gain the maximum advantage in any society is a grave problem. The rule of law is less available to the poor in a corrupt society.

The Constitution of Jamaica is British-engineered with local leaders negotiating some small accommodations. That was the best that could have been done, but now a new constitution that's designed to protect and empower the “least” in the society needs to be created and implemented. If serious systemic change is not made all that will happen is a change of ruling parties with little substantive difference.

Brian Ellis Plummer

brianplummer@yahoo.com


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