The IMF is Jamaica’s Neocolonial Economic Master

No One Political Answer

There is no silver bullet. There is no one political answer. The gurus have had their moment and have failed. The pundits are following in their train. Let us all find the humility to listen to each other and to accept our lot; that we are all in the same boat. It is up to us.

Second, we accept the fact that we have lost control of the rudders of our economy. We owe too much money and we have too little productive capacity.

However, we must make those things that we control work for us. We control our approval processes. I propose the appointment of a 30-90 approval committee. For the next 60 months, no project should be allowed to take more than 90 days for approval. This includes government contracts to be awarded.

A special overriding committee should be given the powers to sit and consider productive projects, contracts and development initiatives and grant the authority to proceed so long as the documentation is in place and the initiative meets the basic minimum criteria. This is a fast-track process that is aimed at creating genuine momentum in the Jamaican economy and society and to end the pattern of turgidity and stagnation to which we have become accustomed.

Franchise the People

Third, I am proposing a project involving the franchising of the people where land is concerned and the conversion of idle lands into domestic food production. Steps are to be taken in short order to reduce the US$1b food-importation bill.

Simultaneously, as a matter of national priority, squatting must be reduced from 30 per cent to less than 10 per cent. A working group should review some of the failed policy initiatives aimed in the past at enfranchising people. These include land lease, pioneer corps, emancipation land project, and others. We must discover what went wrong and build on the gains made.

Jamaica has reached rock bottom. The way forward will require that we do every thing to show our faith in the common people, that is to say, faith in ourselves.

It is not the idea of independence that has failed; it is the manner in which it has been approached. We have gone about the national project while seeking to remain the clients, customers and the clones of the emissaries of the North Atlantic that were once oppressors.

Let us seek to build on the gains that the Jamaican people have made. Let us mainstream and empower them. We can do it.

The Rev Dr Garnett Roper is president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary and chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company. Email