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View from the Cordillera

A Commentary on Achieving Excellence in Local Government
Read by Municipal Leaders on 4 Continents
Published by the Cordillera Institute
(Vol. 4, Issue 34)
What Can We Learn from ... the Plight of Jamaica?
To order the full text of this commentary or to become a subscriber, see the notes below.

Summary of This Commentary
For some time now, I've been absent from this keyboard.  It all started when we learned that a close family member had been murdered in her home.  Tragically, events like this are far too common on that beautiful island where she lived with her husband and 3 sons.  Jamaica has 1 of the highest murder rates in the western hemisphere.  In the days following this latest family tragedy, I kept reflecting on the events that have turned this paradise into a still breathtakingly beautiful, but now very hazardous, place to live.  Jamaica was not always like this.  When the island became independent in 1962, it was not that much different from other nations of the British Commonwealth such as Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  Then, Jamaicans elected their 1st real government-first administration.  It was the beginning of the end.

During the time that this administration held office, it presided over the shrinking of the legitimate economy; the growth of government and the illegal-drug trade; the use of street gangs as its unofficial enforcement arm; the fostering of a culture of entitlement, fed by class envy plus the alleged exploitation of the poor; and the exodus of 10s of 1,000s of its citizens, escaping the lack of opportunity and the growing level of violence on the island.  To see how this was done, this commentary examines each sorry result individually.

Sadly, the situation in Jamaica is far from unique.  Many countries in Latin America suffer under similar circumstances.  You have likely seen recent stories in the major media about all the violence in Mexico.  Yet, too many of us in North America want to believe that what is happening in Mexico — or Venezuela or Bolivia or Nicaragua or Jamaica — can't happen here.  Even after a year and a half of a U.S. administration with an agenda every bit as government-first as its Latin American and Jamaican predecessors, far too many of us are blissfully unaware of how close the U.S. is to passing the point of no return.  In this commentary, as in past commentaries, the impact of this agenda on our municipalities is noted along with why having the right senior-government policies is so vital to the achievement of excellence in local government.

As always, we welcome your comments.

David Barber
Director
Cordillera Institute
(416) 293-9300
CordInst@istar.ca
http://pages.istar.ca/~cordinst/



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About This Publication
Each issue of View from the Cordillera covers some aspect of excellence in local government.  It may examine one of the success elements; it may present a case study; it may introduce a resource (an individual, a group, a publication, etc.) which is advancing excellence; it may advocate a new direction for local government; or it may identify a wrong turn in public policy and offer an appropriate remedy.  This electronic publication is read by those who govern, manage, support, and sustain our local governments.  For more information, just click on the About VFC button below.

About the Cordillera Institute
The Cordillera Institute is an independent research and public policy organization dedicated to excellence in local government.  Since our founding in 1994, we have studied many high-performance organizations to learn what makes them successful.  From this research, we have distilled a set of principles, paradigms, policies, programs, and practices which are the key elements of their success.  Our mission is to be a catalyst — to empower municipalities, school boards, public utilities, and other local public agencies to achieve excellence by adopting and applying these success elements.  For more information, just click on the About CI button below.

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