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JAMAICA | Gov't says it's unable to dismantle political garrisons

Featured Jamaica's Justice Minister Delroy Chuck Jamaica's Justice Minister Delroy Chuck
KINGSTON,  October 13, 2017 - Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says government has determined that it will be unable to respond to one of the ten recommendations made by the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry - the dismantling of political garrisons.
 
Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting on Thursday, Mr. Chuck says his government was struggling to figure out how to go about tackling the garrison phenomenon, noting that it was agreed that this was a job for the country at large.
 
"I need not tell you that the garrison phenomenon, as the Commission found, is a blight on our democracy and on our country. The real question is, how do you dismantle it? Because the Commission, in its report, urged that unless you do, the likelihood of those communities developing will be really slim," Chuck said. 
 
He noted that garrisons belonging to both political parties have been allowed to become 'states within the state' used to promote the interests of politicians. 
 
He said the Commission made several proposals on how to dismantle these garrisons, but when examined, he was uncertain they would be successful in solving the problem.
 
Mr. Chuck said the matter would be taken to Parliament for further discussion. 
 
In the meantime, the Justice Minister has challenged the People's National Party (PNP) candidates in the upcoming by-elections in St. Andrew South Western and St. Andrew Southern, Angela Brown Burke and Mark Golding to do their part in tackling the garrison problem.
 
He said the two constituencies, which are considered PNP strongholds, have for decades benefited from government largesse and government agencies more than any other constituency, yet they remain two of the poorest constituencies in Jamaica.
 
He said no development, or very little development, has taken place in those two constituencies in more than 20 years.
 
"Persons are fighting to get to these constituencies because it is a safe seat and once they get there, they perpetuate, respectfully, the patronage which continue the one-sided political participation. (So) I say to Mark Golding and Angela Brown Burke, is that to continue, or is there to be a change where development can take place in those two constituencies?" he charged. 
 
He asserted that the garrison phenomenon must be tackled if Jamaica is to move forward.
  • Countries: Jamaica