Blame game no longer works
It ought to be clear now to anyone who is of average intelligence that our island’s economy is experiencing some significant challenges and that a truly national effort will be required to get growth coming out ofour joint local efforts to boost jobs provide greater government revenues and above all foreign exchange.
At this short distance from the last election in February, there will be an understandable temptation for the competing political parties and those other individuals of political persuasion to return to election mode in order to maintain what spillover mileage that they can garner from the spillage of the fate which has befallen our beloved land.
It might just be the case, however, that time might be better spent at this stage, examiningwhich of the several proposals set out in the report circulated at the recent consultation might usefullybe adopted as part of a first strike against the adverse aspects of this situation in which we are placed.
This approach should not exclude considerations from any other sources, since the administratorsand politicians do not have, and have never hadall the answers. The power lies within all of us topool our ideas and our strengths while recognizingour weaknesses; in order to pull our country upwards toward growth again. No good is done if vital timeis lost in the blame allocation game while a sinking ship gathers water.
The immediate priority is to make the ship safe,and time for inquiry will come later. In other wordsof nautical genre; this is a time for all hands to be on board, and it matters little whether those hands are from the left; the centre or the right. The important matter of immediate interest is that the prescription must be right and the administration must be skilled, for the patient must not die.
In this regard, therefore we welcome the discussion about the public financing of health and education totally from the public purse. During the past two years Owen Arthur, the former prime minister, raised the prospect of allowing tax relief for those persons who sought to provide such services form themselves and their families. We notice recently that Minister of Education Ronald Jones has recently joined this debate and is suggesting that the time may soon come when adjustments may have to be made to the provision of tertiary education. This level of discussion is what is required now.
Rational and sensible questions aboutprivatization have also been raised in the recentpast by both political parties, but the vagaries of the political campaigns denuded the debate of any logic and emotional hot air replaced what should have beena proper discussion located in the public interest.
The stark reality of our current position should return these issues to the front burner, and we anticipate that logic and not emotion should attend this revised debate. Our economy is small and open with a massive shortage of natural resources. In such situations economic management of the highest order is required.
With some exceptions, we have managed this in the past, and there is no reason why we cannot return to the mountain top. But it must be clearly understood that rational sensible discussion must precede decision-making that combines clear economic logic with an empathetic understanding of the difficult position of those who may be described as vulnerable and disadvantaged.