EDITORIAL: Leaders must write their memoirs
During the past week, this country has had a wonderful reminder of the quality of its political heritage and the benefits to be derived from having a system of governance in which political decisions of great moment are reached in a peaceful manner.
On Saturday last we laid to rest Sir Branford Taitt, a stalwart member of the Democratic Labour Party whose contribution to politics took him from the ranks of the technocrat to the policy making capacity as a long serving Minister of the Crown and ultimately to the very high constitutional office of President of the Senate. His public farewell was generous and well deserved.
On Monday, we observed the 28th anniversary of the death of former Prime Minister J. M. G. M. “Tom” Adams who was this country’s Prime Minister from September 3, 1976 to March 11, 1985. He was a powerful politician who understood the machinery of politics.
Neither of these distinguished gentlemen as far as we know, left us their biographical reflections on their days in office as political servants of the people, and we are the poorer for it.
The general public welfare is deprived of the accounts of these leaders as they wrestled with the multifaceted challenges of solving problems of a developing society in which many of the population required champagne solutions when the treasury had “mauby” pockets.
Now on Tuesday, Owen Arthur took his seat in Parliament on the Opposition benches, having held both the office of Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, and the political transitions were as smooth as our system allows.
We are fortunate to still have among us two former prime ministers in Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford and Mr Arthur who (shorn of the constitutional responsibilities as Opposition Leader) has already indicated that in addition to mentoring the young new MPs, he will also be writing his memoirs of his work in the public service of Jamaica and his political times in Barbados. We welcome this news.
We would be equally encouraged if Sir Lloyd, already a published author, would also write on the peculiar challenges which he faced during his time as a public servant in the political arena.
The tradition of the such writings are well established in larger countries where the market for such publications makes it almost imperative that former leaders should share their unique perspectives on the problems and challenges of their times.
Sir Lloyd and Mr Arthur have been the leaders of this country for a combination of 21 years. These years yielded up to us some of the more interesting political and economic travails of our times, and we feel that the body politics would benefit if we could be blessed with the accounts of their times in office.
It would add considerably to their already large contributions to public service were they able to enhance our understanding of what it takes to lead a small developing country.