Reshuffle is not enough, Mr Prime Minister
Deputy Commissioner of INDECOM Mr Hamish Campbell

Dear Editor,

The system of Government in Jamaica is rooted in a constitutional monarchy under which The Queen, represented by a governor general, is head of State.

However, the man who wields power in the political setup is the prime minister. He presides over the Cabinet and is vested with the power to hire, fire, or reshuffle ministers.

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Andrew Holness confirmed that he intends to reshuffle his Cabinet early in 2022.

He said, “I think it is expected, and I think it would not be unreasonable to see one done in the new year.”

Since then, speculation has been rife about which ministers will be reassigned or get the boot from their perch in the Government.

Now, no one can deny the prime minister the perks of reshuffling his Cabinet, but on what basis, public perception or performance appraisal?

As far as the electorate is aware, the Cabinet is without a job description, and any appraisal for promotion, demotion, transfer, or even separation from duties will be based on the whim and fancy of the prime minister, which aptly gives true meaning to the moniker, BroGad.

The fact of the matter is all Members of Parliament should have a constituency development plan ready for implementation once they take their seats in Parliament.

In a recent article in the Jamaica Observer titled 'The Productivity Principle' written by Lisa Hanna, the Member of Parliament and Opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade, she highlighted the low level of output of the Jamaican populace in terms of productivity.

She noted that “between 1993 and 2019 Jamaica's labour productivity fell by 15 per cent, whereas the majority of our Caribbean competitors' had improved. The Dominican Republic increased by 111 per cent and Trinidad 109 per cent.”

She said further, “Jamaica is the lowest among the top five Caribbean countries in 2019. Annual labour productivity in Jamaica was approximately US$13,000 less than St Lucia, US$20,000 less than Barbados, US$21,000 less than the Dominican Republic, and US$49,000 less than Trinidad and Tobago.”

The question is: Could this low level of productivity be attributed to the level or lack of leadership in the country?

Moreover, I wonder how the performance of Jamaica's ministers would measure up against their counterparts in countries such as the Dominican Republic or Singapore.

The truth is, the Jamaican electorate wants ministers who are strategic thinkers and decision-makers whose approaches are to “put people first” and not their self-interest as demonstrated by the skullduggery and corruption that tend to plague Jamaican governments.

And to cite the Opposition spokeswoman, “It is important that we know our own gaps and address them, versus always waiting for someone else to fix them.”

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