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US hails Ja's embrace of pragmatism in governance

Wednesday, September 12, 2012    

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THE closing of the ideological divide in post-Cold War Jamaica, as well as the embrace of pragmatic approaches to dealing with governance and economic issues by successive administrations here have been praised by the United States.

According to Dr Raymond Brown, the US Government's new deputy chief of mission in Jamaica, this convergence of political philosophy in Jamaica, as it relates to pragmatic governance, is beginning to take on a tone that better engages the pressures of globalisation.

Dr Brown, who was stationed at the US Embassy here as consular/political officer between 1985 and 1987, recalled that during that time, the philosophies of the country's two major political parties were dominated by the continuing issues of the Cold War.

At the time, the then ruling Jamaica Labour Party was a close friend of the US Government, while the Opposition People's National Party was making a slow transition from the political left, having angered Washington with its embrace of democratic socialism and communist governments during its tenure in office in the 1970s.

Having been reposted here a few weeks ago, Dr Brown said that after observing how countries grappled with globalism's effects on governance and political philosophy, he was keen to see the degree to which the political parties have come toward a closer consensus on what pragmatic governance policies were required for Jamaica.

"There has been a kind of closing of the gap in terms of governing philosophies and the kinds of challenges that Jamaica faces, particularly in the economic area that affects everything else," Dr Brown told print journalists in an interview at the US Embassy last week.

He pointed to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips who, he said, "comes out of an academic experience but was associated with the political developments" of the Cold War era and who now has to lead the governance group that has to deal with these financial and monetary challenges.

"I think that the kind of pragmatic approaches that are becoming patterns around the world are beginning to manifest in governance here in Jamaica," said Dr Brown. "So the distance and the variance in the political ideologies that I saw when I was here have moved closer toward the centre and there is an emerging governing consensus that didn't existed at the time."

He said that Washington was interested in seeing Jamaica find solutions to these issues that will benefit the majority of the Jamaican people, lead to stability and growth, bring people into the productive economy, and allow for revenues to be generated that can be applied to the necessities of development.

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