Where are we going? Beyond Vision 2030

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Politics/Current affairs
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Working in government has afforded me the opportunity to see and learn several things thus far. Today is not the day to list those life lessons, I raise this point as while sitting in my fourth or fifth inter-ministerial/inter-agency meeting I had the greatest epiphany ever which is not even an epiphany as probably even the babe on the breast is aware of the reality I am about to describe.

This inter-ministerial workshop saw the special guests being consultants from Singapore, Jamaica’s twin of the 1960’s and 70’s that has outrun us over the last 50 years as Usain Bolt does most other runners. This was a one and a half day workshop with over six separate issue specific presentations highlighting essentially how Singapore does what it does and did what it did and perhaps how Jamaica could at long last learn some of these lessons.

The most surprising aspect of the whole thing, was that besides the great level of detail put into all the various presentations, it was essentially a few obvious, but fundamental differences that lay the foundation for this wide chasm in development between these two nations:

• Strong (uninterrupted)political leadership
• A strong state driving the development process
• A culture of ambition, discipline and productivity
• Total Governmental alignment (what some now call Joined up Government)
• A clear, unequivocal vision for the future that has total societal buy in

Articles could be written ad nauseum about all of the above but it was the last two that led me to the not so epiphany epiphany. Sitting in a room full of people from a wide array of Jamaican governmental institutions and listening to them talk about anything has definitely taught me three things:

1. Jamaica is full of persons with exceptional minds and ideas
2. Joined up government is a myth and it is a myth because:
3. There is no REAL clear vision of the end point we are trying to reach i.e. development.

So what about Vision 2030? You ask. That’s the million dollar question. Now I don’t want the ensuing argument to be construed as me being anti-Vision 2030. I think it is probably the most important document we have come up with recently. Notwithstanding this, for me it is just half the battle. To use an analogy Vision 2030 is like having a sports team and giving them a pep-talk but not finalising the game plan and strategy.

It is a wonderful document filled with ideals and aspirations but what does “the place of choice to live work and raise families” actually look like and how do we get there? Even to the most drilled down level of national objectives and outcomes vision 2030 does not really set out a blueprint of where we want to be and how we are going to get there. Hence to reiterate WE AS A NATION NEED TO AGREE HOLISTICALLY ON THE END POINT WE ARE ASPIRING TO REACH AND HOW WE PLAN TO GET THERE. Not on party lines or all the other dividers there is a need for the cliché consensus otherwise we are heading nowhere.

The next point is on Joined up government, the meeting also reinforced for me that we have a barrage of state bodies and agencies that all are supposed to be working in the national interest, but WHAT NATIONAL INTEREST? In the absence of this clear vision as described above we end up with “a bag of” ministries departments and agencies that often work in overlapping fields but have vastly different perspectives on the world, what the end point for Jamaica is and how we get there. Joined up government right now could almost be described as a myth. This is such an important point for the Singaporeans we so desperately wish to imitate that they rotate the heads of agencies regularly to ensure alignment – as we would say “ONE MOTION.”

Can we get there? Absolutely!!! But if we go back to the list of differences between Singapore and Jamaica stated above this is where the strong leadership comes into play, the kind of leadership that makes tough decisions even those that could hurt them electorally, the strong development oriented state with great ambition, the state that prefers to implement versus announce is needed.

I still have high hopes for Jamaica but I have resigned myself to the fact that a new generation that wishes to be the change we describe and seek must emerge and take the reins. Are we ready? Or are we going to be apathetic complainers into eternity?


  1. empty rhetoric VISION 2030 is….at the rate we’re going it should be VISION 3030!

    • cunning1jm says:

      wouldnt say empty i prefer my pep talk versus gameplan analogy lol. cant fight you for feeling that way though. Respect for the read

      • With all due respect none of what you have outlined will lead to VISION 2030 (or Vision 3030 either). There can be no vision nor the realization of any such vision without a framework of human and economic freedom in Jamaica.

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