Commentary: Is the Jamaican Parliament tracking Vision 2030 progress?

Commentary: Is the Jamaican Parliament tracking Vision 2030 progress?

By Mario Boothe

One responsibility a Member of Parliament (MP) has is to inform and educate his/her constituents of any central government policies that affect them and to receive feedback to guide his/her own actions in carrying out legislative duty in parliament. I won’t regret making the statement that most MPs across the political divide have failed in their responsibility in developing civic minded constituents. Critical to governance is citizen participation and buy-in.

Mario Boothe is a young governance advocate, blogger and Occupy Jamaica activist, a governance watchdog group

A clear example of this comes in the form of another report updating the public on Jamaica’s National Development Plan (Vision 2030) that went under the radar with little, if any attention given to the nine-page document published January 2017. The Vision 2030 Implementation falls under the ultimate responsibility of Cabinet, which has reporting responsibility to parliament but, like so many reporting and accountability mechanisms in this country, this too has broken down.

The document that can be viewed on the Vision 2030 website states in bold highlight: “The progress reports represent the only space nationally that allows for the reporting on the overall development progress of Jamaica – that is social, economic, environmental and governance spheres of development.” Note the word – only – any policy document this crucial to national development and will affect policy decisions should be presented to the representative of the people for a debate on the four goals and 15 national outcomes.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), media and United Nations have their share of culpability as the technical secretariat, the PIOJ, often holds press briefings to publicize its many reports on Jamaica, why not Vision 2030 progress? Where are the local media reports on communicating this to regular man?

With the new UN Multi-national Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF), the UN should compel the government of Jamaica to give the goals the vitality they deserve and need. Globally there has been great effort made to implement through youth led initiatives and innovation – Jamaica can benefit from galvanized youth energy around the goals.

The report states: ”The area of greatest concern for the country is Goal 2: The Jamaican Society is Secure, Cohesive and Just, with no indicator related to security, justice or governance meeting or exceeding the 2015 target.”

It’s no coincidence that Goal 2 indicators include: Government Effectiveness Index, Regulatory Quality Index, Voice and Accountability Index.

With the Economic Growth Council taking center stage as creation of the Office of the Prime Minister, I suggest that the Vision 2030 Secretariat report directly to a committee of parliament.