‘Time for change’

THE direct election of an executive president and a system of recall for elected parliamentarians are some of the demands coming from the island’s newest political body, the Jamaica Patriotic Movement, which will hold its first national conference on Sunday.

Carlos Daley, convener of the movement which was launched almost four years ago, says the conference, to be staged at Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, will be used to establish it as a national entity determined to push for well-needed changes.

“This will be a meeting of patriotic minds to chart the course for the movement and set the outline for the direction of our country,” Daley told the Jamaica Observer.

“As a trained financial analyst my speech will be on the eradication of poverty; Up Jamaica Movement will be speaking on the constitution going forward; while the Marcus Garvey People’s Progressive Party will be speaking on land for the landless, with several others slated to make presentations,” said Daley.

He said a number of other entities, including anti-corruption and environmental groups, have already indicated that they want to be a part of the Jamaica Patriotic Movement.

“What I want to see is Jamaicans taking charge of their own destiny. Over the years the people have believed in the present parliamentary system and they have voted, but still the bad roads remain, the debt has increased, and our people keep getting more improverished. While the system is being occasionally reformed by both major political parties, at the end of the day the only interest that benefit is the monied class,” added Daley.

He charged that the present political system is failing the majority of Jamaicans and that the country has failed to advance significantly over the 61 years since Independence.

According to Daley, the plan to amend the Jamaican Constitution, which is now underway, is long overdue but he wants the Constitutional Reform Committee to be renamed a Constitutional Change Committee and to make radical changes.

“What we are proposing now, given the current political landscape, is direct election by the people of their president. Just moving straight into a direct presidential election would change the whole corrupt culture of this present system that we have been living under for the past 61 years. I think anybody who loves Jamaica and wants to see better will endorse this direction,” said Daley.

Under the proposal of the Jamaica Patriotic Movement, the executive president would select the Cabinet, which would not include any elected representatives.

“By doing this, let’s say you are going to appoint a minister of health, that person would be selected from the health sector so we would eliminate that problem where we appoint Cabinet members based on tribal politics and people without any expertise in the area they are given responsibility for,” said Daley.

The businessman, who received his tertiary education in the United States before returning to Jamaica some 19 years ago, said the Cabinet members would need the approval of Parliament, which he wants to be restructured from the present 63 constituency representatives to no more than 40 heads of community councils.

“The present system has produced the current reality of having only 30 plus per cent of our people who vote, which tells you that after 60 years we have not progressed — we have regressed. That means we have to question the democratic formula that we are using.

“The people would elect the members of a community council and the president of that council would represent the people in Parliament,” said Daley.

“In this system the people would be the ones to decide who represents them; right now the people are deciding based on who the parties put up to represent them. It is time for change, the people are clamouring for change,” added Daley.

He said the August 20 conference will be a “unity conference” that will seek to get Jamaicans to buy in to the goals of the movement which first released its manifesto at Howard University in the United States in 2017.

Daley underscored that his movement will not be a political party but could morph into one in the future.

“The intention is to be a part of the whole political discourse in Jamaica, but initially it will not be a political party,” Daley told the Observer.

“Even when channelling great ideas you have to be realistic. We have two dominant political parties here and, given what is happening in our country, they have failed. This movement is designed to raise consciousness and to show people the way forward in making our country the place to live,” added Daley.