Too much has been said without the right things being said!
Dr Nigel Clarke

Dear Editor,

Since Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke announced the proposed salary package for the political arena, so many reports have been written, so much analysis done! Protests have been many, but it is my opinion that the right arguments have not been placed on the discussion table.

Everyone agrees that our politicians deserve a pay increase. Everyone has made his or her voice heard. Jamaica, as always, has gone large. Now the British Broadcasting Corporation has reported on the matter. I, and all Jamaicans, should feel embarrassed; this is not Jamaica!

What has this national outcry done? It has shown that Jamaicans are not as foolish as the politicians seemed to have thought they were. It shows that people not affected by the public sector reclassification and pay structure had not been just observing but empathised with those affected. Kudos to the advocacy groups and people like Dr Michael Abrahams who have lent their voices to the discussion.

Right now it is no longer about teachers, nurses, police, firemen, etc. It is about the gross disrespect to all of Jamaica and the blatant undermining of the intellect of the Jamaican citizenry.

So many promises made are unfulfilled yet Jamaica is expected to reward politicians for these unfulfilled promises: job description, accountability framework, etc. Somewhere in there was mentioned training for Members of Parliament in the future. Are we to conclude that there was no training being offered to our politicians prior to this new wage package?

The Government says children cannot leave high school without skills training, hence mandatory sixth form incorporating HEART/NSTA Trust and City & Guilds programmes, so how come the politicians never had training before they were "certified" for the job? I will not bash anyone about having or lacking Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)/Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), or university degrees, but they should at least have been given some form of on-the-job training.

In this period of constitution reform, there should be something in place to cap the age of those involved in political representation, the number of consecutive terms for representation, etc. In every sector, there are codes of conduct. Where is the code of conduct for politicians? Why are they not held accountable?

Too many leaked voice messages or telephone conversations between politicians and the citizenry have been released into the public space. What sanctions are applied to politicians who disrespect those they are representing?

There is a lunchtime protest planned for the next few days, but how many will participate, knowing that they were mistreated but also knowing the repercussions that will most likely follow from management if they join the protest?

Have we reached the stage at which we are willing to take a stand and fight, come what may? Or are we still at that point where we will cave in, in the face of adversity, like the unions did in March when they were told that if the agreements were not signed, the workers they represented would not get retroactive pay till next year?

Forget about salary increases!

Forget about political parties!

Forget about loyalty to a party!

Let our loyalty be to Jamaica. Let us remember that we are Jamaicans.

Natesha Lindsay

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