The Jamaica 50 lectures, hosted by the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, got underway on Monday (Oct. 1) with University of the West Indies (UWI) Economics Lecturer, Dr. Peter John Gordon, delivering the first discourse.
Dr. Gordon, who spoke on the topic: 'The Journey of a Nation – Jamaica at 50' used statistical data in outlining the country’s economic achievements and failures since independence.
Dr. Gordon, a former director of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), examined the contribution of sectors such as agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, and transportation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the impact of poverty and unemployment.
He looked at human developmental indicators such as birth, mortality and fertility rates; literacy, enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels; and aging of the population. He also examined the impact of crime on development.
The UWI lecturer advanced personal views on issues such as the 'we want justice' phenomenon, the rule of law, the role of the Contractor General, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) debate, and aspects of police operations.
He questioned whether self-doubt could be at the heart of some of the country’s failures.
Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, in welcoming the attendees, said the lecture series will focus on different aspects of the country's national life since 1962.
He informed that subsequent lectures would focus on education, security and culture in Jamaica. Ambassador Vasciannie noted that "Dr. Gordon was an excellent choice to commence the lecture series."