JIS News

University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor, Senator Trevor Munroe, has said that the quality of governance was determined by a number of players in the society and not just the government.
Professor Munroe, who was contributing to the panel discussion on ‘Good Governance: Perception versus reality’ held yesterday (Dec. 8) at Jamaica House, acknowledged that whilst government must be at the core of governance, other stakeholders should include the private sector, civil society, international governmental organizations and the non-formal sector.
Outlining the seven dimensions of good governance, Professor Munroe said this comprised national government, national private sector, the transnational private sector, national civil society, transnational civil society, international governmental organisations, and the non-formal sector. These sites of power, he said, all impacted on the quality of governance.
The Professor, while not absolving the state of any responsibility of good governance, cited as unacceptable, the insufficient evaluation of other sites of power, in particular the private sector, national, transnational and international governmental organizations, which he said, “must necessarily impact the quality of governance.”
“In the period of corporate globalization and market-led development, governance must include sites of power located outside the state. This is an entirely unacceptable situation since what this exclusion does is absolve entities, which share in real power of any responsibility for the quality of governance,” he argued further.
Professor Munroe, who spoke on the topic ‘Good governance: The issues and challenges in the public sector,’ outlined the standards of governance as: the observation of human rights in general, of political rights and civil liberties in particular, including press freedom; popular participation; the rule of law; accountability; and transparency.
He gave Jamaica a passing grade for good governance, especially as it related to mainly state-centered indicators such as ensuring civil liberties, political rights and press freedom.
While emphasizing the need for participation from other sectors in governance, Senator Munroe pointed out that Jamaica’s quality of governance did not suffer from a want of legislation but from serious gaps in the legislative framework, noting that, “there is no Proceeds of Crimes Act or no regime for regulating contributions to political parties and election campaigns.”
He also cited the “under-resourcing” of critical institutions, noting for example, that while the Commission against Corruption in Hong Kong had a staff of 1,300, Jamaica’s Corruption Prevention Commission was staffed by only 10 persons.
Professor Munroe said that while these deficits related in the main to the government component, “there are however, major shortfalls from other elements in the system of governance, which have to be rectified if good governance is to be improved and sustained.
Of note, he said, was “the under-reporting of corporate taxes as only 17 per cent of corporate taxes are truly reported” and the disproportionate fall of the contribution of profit tax to gross domestic product.
The panel discussion was organized by the Government Communication Group and chaired by Senator Burchell Whiteman, Minister of Information. Other members of the panel included Dr. Carlton Davis, Cabinet Secretary, Office of the Cabinet; and Dr. Herbert Thompson, President of the Northern Caribbean University.