Political system has failed to improve Jamaicans' lives, says PhillipsWednesday, November 24, 2021
Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Central and former Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips says the condition of life of the average Jamaican has not been substantially and fundamentally transformed despite the efforts of administrations over the past 40 years.
Speaking in the state of the constituency debate in the Lower House yesterday, Dr Phillips said Jamaica's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is where it was 40 years ago and the educational performance has not markedly changed.
“The truth is, this failure of Jamaica to grow economically and to substantially improve the quality of life of our citizens is a grave indictment on us all and on the political system in particular,” Dr Phillips said.
He said that the “tribalist” nature of Jamaican politics has led parties to blame each other for all the failings of policy and development and to claim all the virtues for themselves.
Dr Phillips said over the 40 years there have been some improvements in the preservation of democracy, the strengthening of the rights of the individual, the rule of law, and Jamaica's cultural identity. He, however, lamented the fact that the entire system has neither excelled in economic growth and well-being nor in social and educational transformation and that Jamaica's peers in the Caribbean have surpassed us as a nation.
According to Dr Phillips, a non-partisan approach to the people's business is required to move the country forward. He said there should be no winners nor losers in the parliamentary discourse. The only winners should be the people of Jamaica.
He added that a non-partisan approach to debates would be useful in developing vital initiatives to combat crime, address the ongoing housing dilemma, avoid concerns such as the National Housing Trust Ruthven Road issue, and deal with the crisis in education.
“Jamaica has obviously outgrown the version of parliamentary democracy which was set in place in 1962. The results of that system have been mixed at best. The country can do better,” he said.