Viewing Jamaica’s Economic and Social Development Needs from the Current International Development Framework.
The recent discussions around the proposed portal hub development in Jamaica have ignited a flicker of economic hope for the future. The right to development in emerging economies is often saddled with environmental and human rights concerns inter ilea.
The poor track record of successive governments in Jamaica over the past fifty years in areas such as: shaping a progressive economic policy, advancing human rights and strengthening accountability has been an uphill struggle. A culture of change in the right direction for the future is hardly guaranteed. As we anticipate one of the largest post independence Foreign Direct Investment already there are musings of an unavoidable environmental trade off. This concerns the proposed usage of a coal generated power plant.
It is fair to posit that economic and social justice has to be concurrent with civil and political rights- if Jamaica is gain recognition parity with other emerging economies that compete for recognition and foreign direct investment in the global marketplace.
One of the main reasons why we are stuck in an economic black hole for fifty years: Is as a result of short sightedness on the part of the two major duopolies parading as political parties failure to unite around core developmental goals .The other is the failure of citizens to demand political reforms that will hold themselves, public officials and government to a greater levels of accountability.
Every time I visit Jamaica it pains me that most of the people are stuck with a historic notion of politics as a function of their destinies rooted vision of either Norman Manley or Sir Alexander Bustamante development model. It is not the intention this discourse to devalue the contributions of both stalwart historical figures of the pass. Neither is my attention to ferment a discontent over historically held romantic feelings towards out national heroes. The sober understanding is that much has changed on a global scale in terms of Economics, Law, international trade and transnational communication. So to hang on to these past political icons is a great disservice to their memory.
Over the past 50 years our long term development goals as a country has been strangulated by a five year preoccupation of keeping the two political classes in power at or absolute peril. This discussion would be tantamount to a pretentious tirade if I omit to flag up a social constructivist approach by locating our development bug bearers that we need to overcome.
The first is to identify that currently our Economic future is tied up with the ability to measure our development against meeting the policy standard of economic organisations such as the WTO the ILO the World Bank, the IMF benchmarks and other international credit rating agencies.
The second consideration is to recognise that there is an increasing push towards world constitutionalism with a growing and relevant transnational and regional legal frame work of treaties and soft laws that we need to keep abreast with. These laws and treaties most of which we are signature to has changed our autonomy as sovereign states and will force changes in the way that we think culturally. The essence of our democracy is no longer rooted in a Hegelian framework that is organic or frozen metaphor of our political heroes of the past. It is based on international legal norms and external treaties that we are a party to.
The third consternation is that we live in an era where Human Rights have trumped cultural relativity. As the world push towards a global culture backed by Human Rights laws- that are part of the push towards a new global constitutional arrangement it has affected our way of life has impacted our domestic law and cultural norms.
So the next vacation that I spend in Jamaica spare me from the sabre rattling tosh about following Bustmate long after he is dead. Neither do I want to hear about the vision and intellect of Norman Washington Manley. Let’s talk about our current political and economic reality and how we can get the current set of desk thumping parliamentarian’s to buy into it.
Donovan Reynolds is a Blogger and Independent Writer. He is a British based Social Worker and Human Rights Activist. He has an interest in Politics, Culture, Human Rights and International Development issues. Readers of this blog may add their comments or critique at the space provided on this blog .Or alternatively they may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org/ or dannygerm@twitter