Major Infrastructure Projects Can Change Jamaica’s Economic Outlook UncategorizedJuly 14, 2014Written by: VIVIENNE SIVA RelatedJ. Wray and Nephew Honourees Retirees for 800 Years of Service Advertisements FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail RelatedSt. Mary Hurricane Victims Get New Homes Story HighlightsDr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says the major infrastructure project planned and already underway in Jamaica has the ability to significantly change the country’s economic outlook.The Minister was speaking in London at the second of a series of meetings in the United Kingdom (UK) to update the Jamaican Diaspora of the Government’s major infrastructure projects. The projects being undertaken include development of the island’s highway network to link the north and south coast amongst other expansion. RelatedCabinet to Receive Proposed Amendments to Laws on Parish Council Operations Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says the major infrastructure project planned and already underway in Jamaica has the ability to significantly change the country’s economic outlook. The Minister was speaking in London at the second of a series of meetings in the United Kingdom (UK) to update the Jamaican Diaspora of the Government’s major infrastructure projects. The meetings are organised by Jamaica National Building Society as part of its Outlook for the Future series. The projects being undertaken include development of the island’s highway network to link the north and south coast; expansion and privatization of the Kingston Container Terminal; privatization of the Norman Manley International Airport; and development of the Logistics Hub to take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal. Dr. Davies informed that the long-awaited Mount Rosser bypass will be open on August 5, while the Caymanas to Linstead leg of the highway will be completed by 2016.“Then, we will do a leg from Moneague to Ocho Rios, coming out just west of Dunn’s River,” Dr. Davies informed. “That will cost about US$270 million.” He urged members of the Diaspora to look at the business opportunities that might arise from the infrastructure projects. “What I want to exercise your minds about is the possibility of piggy-backing on these investments,” he said, noting that there are potential spinoffs.Infrastructure Projects“Each of you, either working as individuals or working together, can take advantages of the opportunities that are there. I want you see yourselves as, not just being members of the Diaspora, but also as potential investors,” he stated. There were also presentations from Managing Director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), Ivan Anderson, and Head of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Professor Gordon Shirley. Mr. Anderson informed that since 2010, some 300 road projects have been completed island-wide at an expenditure of approximately US$400 million. Professor Shirley, for his part, said Jamaica is ideally located between North and South America to benefit from the increased traffic through the Caribbean, due to the expansion of the Panama Canal. He also outlined plans to upgrade the port facilities to accommodate cruise ships and also of the opportunities in developing Jamaica as a hub for telecommunications.
The government introduced farm laws with an intent to double farm incomes within a few years. The deep distrust to these laws in a section of farmers cannot be explained on a rational economic policy basis, the answer may be in cultural aspects.Political opposition to farm laws has taken various forms with diaspora pitching in, anti-market political elements joining hands, and even secession forces may have come into play, but these do not constitute the core component. The root cause among the real farmers who comprise the core component is deep distrust towards the leadership itself.Dr. Kaushik Basu has done well to highlight trust deficit in his column in Economic Times on December 24th, 2020. This lack of trust in government among the farmers is now threatening to derail Farm laws. While his depiction of distrust is simplistic and accusatory, the criticality of trust in market mode economic growth cannot be denied. This distrust probably can be explained in terms of cultural factors. The right polity of BJP has a proper road map to be able to narrow and overcome this distrust arising out of cultural factors.To fathom these cultural undercurrents, and find ways to restore trust, it is useful to consider the context of Ayodhya verdict. Babri Masjid built in the memory of Emperor Babar was the target of several onslaughts over five centuries to restore the ethos of Ram Rajya and end Mughal hukumat. Supreme Court did not consider the strife aspects in its inference making, instead gave its verdict per their conclusion that Hindus had uninterrupted access to the inner sanctum of the structure for worship even after the Babri Mosque was constructed.The fact to be noted is that even amidst intense strife between rulers, ordinary people evidently were living amicably. The ethos of Guru Nanak, Kabir, Rahim, Ravidas and other religious thought streams that sought to reconcile strife between Hindus and Muslims and encourage syncretic cultural spirit prevailed. This composite cultural ethos had enabled uninterrupted worship. Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan, ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, Sabko Sammati Do Bhagwan’, distils the essence of this spirit.The whole gamut of Indic religious and cultural expressions that have sprung endogenously within the geography of Indian subcontinent is defined as Bharatiyata by Right polity intellectuals. While Hindutva led to mobilization for Rama Janmabhoomi movement, the Supreme Court verdict for just resolution comes only per the cultural ethos of Bhartiya.In 2014 campaign BJP advocated Politics of Development to regain momentum for economic growth. Toilet first, Temple next credo served as the leitmotif for all aspects of the state policymaking. In the next government formed in 2019, big political decisions were front-loaded to create a proper political and strategic basis for enabling structural changes in the economy. Conservative right polity carries the burden of history and culture, it must do basic political work to set those right; it cannot break free from past as the left-progressive are wont to do.The first major structural change in the Indian economy has been the Farm laws, and it has now stalled. The failure can be specifically attributed to Citizen Amendment Act of 2019. This law, by all serious reckoning within India and internationally, is considered as violating secular framework of Indian Constitution. Immigrant policies are fraught with intense emotions as evident in all developed and developing democracies. This political failing of BJP can be corrected if they heed to opposition demand for making 2014 the cut off year for all immigrants including all Muslim denominations.CAA in its present form is inconsistent with Bharatiyata ethos that BJP propagates. Only a secular state can provide the ambience where the syncretic reconciliation of all religious elements, which is a cultural process of Bharatiyata, can peacefully take place. PM Modi began his 2019 election campaign ceremoniously from Maghar, the final resting place of Sant Kabir. It expressed an intent to abide by the direction provided by first-generation leaders to make Bharatiyata the core credo of BJP. PM Modi’s address in AMU Centenary celebration would be considered of a great historical import if Bharatiyata credentials of BJP is firmly established under his leadership.If this analysis of underlying cause is correct, consonance to core credo of BJP when it becomes credible to stakeholders shall allay deep distrust among farmers, serious apprehension among diaspora abroad and intellectual elites worldwide to overcome the temporary setback in implementing farm laws. It will reaffirm trust that fair play norms shall always be upheld in all law-making efforts.