Malahoo Forte tells politicians to improve their level of representation
The Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte

The Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, is imploring parliamentarians to improve the level of their representation and “do right” by their constituents.

“Our constituents are depending on all of us to do right by them. Many have no privilege of office or any connection in high places. They need every part of government with which they interact to be more responsive, more efficient and more accountable to them,” Malahoo Forte said.

She was speaking recently as she made her contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

We must therefore be relentless in our representation to have a strong and effective government to better serve them, because a weak and ineffective government is easily manipulated to produce unjust and corrupt outcomes that harm the people,” the minister said.

The two-term Member of Parliament for St James West Central said doing right by the people includes exercising greater care in how politicians manage their campaigns when running for office.

“So often we give the impression that we can be all things to all men and end up relieving others of their share of responsibility for the work. Unrealistic expectations are set, which cannot be met, leading to disappointment and distrust. Furthermore, we make the grave mistake in thinking that it is okay to engage in the most despicable acts and illicit activities on the campaign trail but then expect integrity in the affairs of government when those who so engaged are put in charge of any part of government,” said Malahoo Forte.

Representing St James West Central since 2016, Malahoo Forte said her generation of political leaders must “consciously eschew the evil practices done in the name of partisan politics and then deliberately practise politics in a more constructive and indubitable manner”.

“I take my responsibility to my constituents very seriously. My style of politics is not the up-in-your-face, rambunctious style. My preference is to, without fanfare, quietly go about the business of the people, spending time to get first-hand knowledge on what is happening on the ground and speaking with constituents directly,” said the former Attorney General.

She said “It truly irks me when I make the necessary representation to have issues addressed and then the appropriate part of government with responsibility is unresponsive or delivers sub-standardly. We desperately need all parts of government to work together, with each part doing its fair share of the work. What happens in one part impacts what happens in other parts”.

Malahoo Forte said it was also important for Jamaicans to understand that government is much bigger than the political directorate.

“The belief that the MP has the power and authority to take action to fix whatever is wrong in government is a mistaken one, because government is not a one-man show”.

She noted that the various ministries, departments and agencies are staffed by administrative, professional, technical and other officials.

“We sometimes forget that although the boundary lines between the political directorate on the one hand and the civil and wider public service on the other hand sometimes blur, they are in fact sharply drawn in most areas,” she said.

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