Yesterday, December 29th, Jamaicans went to the polls to elect a new prime minister. Former PM and Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson-Miller and the People’s National Party won handily – 41 seats to 22.
Only time will tell if the PNP will be any different than the outgoing Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). No better herring, no better barrel, is the Jamaican expression that comes to mind. There have been allegations of corruption on both sides. It’s an open secret who’s involved in what, who’s doing what illegal thing. No one’s clean. I hope and pray the new administration will try to put the country first or at least above party or their own personal agendas.
What I hope the new government will do:
- Continue to bring crime down – business will not thrive in an environment where crime and corruption are common and where ordinary people have no faith in the justice system.
- Fix the roads – most of the roads, especially those just beyond the “tourist areas” are in deplorable condition. They need to be fixed.
- Fix the tax system – the only way to get rid of the 17.5% GCT is for the administration to be able to collect income taxes from all working Jamaicans, and corporations that do business here. A fair and equitable tax system is needed.
- Fix the educational system – an educated population is one of the lynchpins of development. People must be able not just to read, but to think critically, reason and analyze.
- Create an environment where business can thrive, one which will be attractive to businesses that want to invest.
- Be open and transparent. No scandals – financial or other.
This list is by no means comprehensive…..