Wed | Dec 6, 2023

There will be no progress without discipline

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2022 | 12:06 AM


I believe Danville Walker must have read my mind in his interview – ‘Radical system changes essential for a better Jamaica: Danville Walker’ – published in The Sunday Gleaner of August 14. It might even be the other way around.

In my humble opinion, there are some radical departures that must be made if the 2030 vision is to be any more than a pipe dream couched in a collection of fine-sounding rhetoric. For instance, why can’t the authorities take a performance-management approach to the way public affairs are conducted? I have coined the acronym ‘AREA’ merely to illustrate my point, but the idea is by no means a novelty.

The concept entails the provision of adequate resources; empowerment of the functionaries through suitable recruitment, placement, training/development practices and finally, holding incumbents at all levels accountable for agreed results, making sure there are no breaches in the AREA.

Surely, we cannot continue to operate in the way so aptly described by Dr Peter Phillips. He said that Jamaica is a place where those who play by the rules get shafted. We must change systems to ensure that people are incentivised for doing what is right, and penalised for doing what is demonstrably known to be harmful. Prosperity will forever elude us if we insist on facilitating behaviours that fit Mr P.J. Patterson’s characterisation of our social order as being akin to a scenario in which political tribes are perpetually fighting over scarce benefits and spoils.

Ask any of our successful athletes if they can do as they please and seriously hope to reap enviable rewards at the end of the day. Truth be told, there can be no progress in any sphere of life without discipline, which ideally should come from within but failing which, it must be imposed from without, otherwise chaos will most likely become the order of the day.

We must adopt with alacrity, a posture of zero tolerance in action, not in empty words – however frightfully uttered – if desirable objectives are ever to become any part of our national reality.