JIS News

Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes is calling for greater social cohesiveness to create a more inclusive and caring society that will ensure every citizen is treated as a stakeholder.
He made the call while addressing the launch of the 2005 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Report and UNICEF’s 2007 Update of the Situation Analysis of Children in Jamaica at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday (November 30).
The PIOJ head noted that a socially cohesive framework for Jamaica would go a far way in effectively dealing with existing challenges such as crime and heightened mistrust among individuals. He disclosed that a 2006 survey showed that the level of mistrust that existed, particularly of public institutions, was as high as 84 percent among Jamaicans.
“This is very worrying and, to my mind, has to do with two things: 1) that the institutions are not functioning effectively and therefore people ignore them and do not have any trust in them, and 2) there is a low level of social cohesiveness in the society,” he argued.
Dr. Hughes noted that “one of the important elements of a strong society is the degree to which people trust their institutions”. He added that institutions ranked with the highest level of trust, were those that “people get a benefit from and have some degree of expectation that they (institutions) will deliver.” These include the family, church, and financial institutions.
“It has to do with how people sense that they are getting service delivery from the institutions. So it is a matter of how effective the institutions are functioning,” Dr. Hughes argued.
To this end, Dr. Hughes cited the need to “move beyond the data collection to the next level of social policy.This he said meant going beyond a set of projects and programmes to a national social cohesiveness strategy which carried the message every single individual is important and had a stake in the society.
Dr. Hughes said that if individuals were given a sense that the society was caring and committed to improving their condition then it “becomes easier to do other things.”
“We have the policies and the programmes, and new ones are emerging. We just need to link them to create a society that is more cohesive, more inclusive, more caring for each and every one,” the PIOJ head stated.