Allan Alberga | Our vision for 2030
The target agreed by both our parties is that by 2030, Jamaica will be a place where we will be happy to live in. Both parties have promised to make this a reality so, once again, there is no policy disagreement. The only question is which party can best guide us to this goal. As I have attempted to show, each makes the claim to be better able to guide us to the same destination, while failing to do so. Hence, the inevitable change of parties. This is exhausting, expensive, time-wasting, and counter-productive.
Let us agree that we have not spent the past 60 years improving our nation. What else can we show between now and 2030 to convince the masses that we are on the right track? Supporters of one or other of our political leaders/managers would probably list the achievements of each party over the years. But that has nothing to do with our forward march to 2030. If both parties can show that the past accomplishments of their party were opposed by the other party, then there is a policy disagreement that might influence the future movement to 2030. Absent some reason to believe that there is a policy difference between the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party, it really doesn’t matter which forms the government when we get to 2030.
The alternative approach, which I have, since 1992, proposed is that we stop dividing our people by searching for a difference. There is really no natural division. What the model of governance given to us does is to assume a difference represented by our political parties, when there is really none. Of course, there were differences over the years of colour, education, wealth; but at this stage of our mingling, we have largely overcome these. As a matter of fact, it seems that our people have never been closer to togetherness in our history. If there is ever a time to design a system that we can call Jamaican, it is now. Our managers should take this into account when contending for power. The declining numbers of voters at recent elections should no longer be interpreted by the parties as a preference for one party; it seems more like a preference for neither.
If my thoughts on change find favour with members of our nation residing at home or abroad, I would appreciate some feedback. I understand the difficulty of changing from something familiar to an unknown, but that is the path of dependence to independence. Jamaica has been dependent on outside control for four centuries, longer than any other region in the world. We are reluctant to believe that our present path, led by Europe and the United States, is unsuitable for us. I understand this sentiment, but, for the reasons expressed in my recent articles, I believe that we can design, in true Jamaican style, an alternative system that enables our people to shed the attitudes that perpetuate the mental slavery that we should not have as an independent nation.
Assuming that we want to investigate my proposal for change, what can be done between 2022 and 2030. I don’t advocate anything violent. I suggest the following steps:
1. Prime minister and leader of the Opposition discuss the idea of designing a different system;
2. If they agree to do this, summon individuals from both parties to discuss feasibility;
3. Invite specialists in constitutional law to discuss possible changes to the existing constitution;
4. Group can use the system I proposed in my “An Alternative Path to Development” articles published in The Gleaner in 1992, as a starting framework;
5. After a draft is composed, announce the new constitution to Jamaican communities worldwide.
What is noticeable about these steps is the absence of a referendum. My experience of our people is that they don’t respond to that process. This may be because of our historical reliance upon our leaders. to make decisions in certain matters. Lawmaking is one of these. Another step that could be added to the list is a meeting with Jamaicans residing abroad to discuss the draft.
This process could occupy several months. Because the aim is to use this new system to mobilise our nationals at home and abroad, it is important that it should be in place before the end of 2023 so that it can be utilised in the next seven years.
Allan Alberga is an attorney-at -law based in Atlanta and an engaged member of the Jamaican diaspora. He is a passionate and devoted Jamaican desirous of advancing the development of his beloved country. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.