#National Affairs
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller MP

* We the People of Jamaica are sovereign...

* We are equally entitled to the resources of the State...

* Members of Parliament have no right to select who will benefit from the resources of the State...

SIGN THIS PETITION to tell the Prime Minister to remove political affiliation as a factor in employing workers for the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).



This petition is being organised by Activists, who believe that there is a better way to govern Jamaica in which all Jamaicans benefit. We are critical of the JLPNP's approach to governance, which has prevented all Jamaicans regardless of political affiliation from benefiting equally from state resources. Each Jamaican has the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of political opinion under the Charter of Rights Section 13(3)(i)(ii).

The distribution of state resources along political lines has resulted in the birth of garrisons and gangs in Jamaica, has undermined democracy, increased inequality, resulted in political tribalism and waste, and engendered hopelessness amongst people on the one hand, and forced others to become involved politically only to benefit from such resources. It is wrong, not only because of the negative repercussions but also because the resources are not political but rather money which belongs to the people of Jamaica in equal share.

The details of the JEEP programme revealed so far demonstrate that the resources of the people will be divided along political lines, because workers will be selected by Members of Parliament. Therefore, it is highly probably that only those who will be recognised by the Member of Parliament, who is no more than a politician who successfully ran for office, based on their service to that political party will be rewarded with work, rather than giving equal opportunity to all Jamaicans regardless of their political affiliation. Removing politicians from the process will ensure that all Jamaicans have an equal opportunity to be employed under the programme, regardless of political affiliation or opinion.

We demand that politics be removed from the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).



In September 2011, then PNP head Portia Simpson-Miller announced that if elected the PNP would implement the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme, or "JEEP." Very few details of the JEEP were revealed prior to the election. During the campaign the PNP however revealed that the programme:

* would be implemented to provide short-term help with the current unemployment problems

* would be funded primarily from JDIP and the Tourism Enhancement Fund

* persons would be employed in labour-intensive infrastructure projects, such as the construction of retaining walls, paving of gullies, and reforestation.

* the programme would be transparent and non partisan.

To date there has been no public consultation on the JEEP or its details. The results of the meetings

On Sunday, January 22nd, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller revealed that the first leg of the JEEP would involve a $340 million road maintainance programme, covering the northern coastal highway from Negril to Port Antonio. All details of the programme are expected to be revealed at a launch in Salem, Runaway Bay, at 2:30pm on January 24, 2012.

From statements by the Prime Minister, and Richard Azan, state Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the following information has been revealed:

* The programme will be funded by the IDB. The JLP released a statement that the agreement with the IDB was negotiated by them and signed on December 5, 2011 before they left office involving the same road works. Minister with responsiblity for information Sandra Falconer conceded that the programme was funded by the IDB.

* The works take place in 11 constituencies across 7 parishes, including East and West Portland, South East, Central and Western St Mary, North East and North West St Ann, North Trelawny, West Central St James and East and West Hanover. East Central St. James, which is along the same corridor, represented by the JLP's Edmund Bartlett, has been excluded from the works programme. The PNP stated that his constituency is benefiting from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

* Nine of the constituencies were won by the PNP, and two by the JLP.

* Members of Parliament will select 600 of the 700 workers who will carry out the work.

Both major newspapers have already reported concerning the JEEP programme. Members of Parliament, including Jolyan Silvera, the MP for West St Mary, was able to identify the political allegiance of the workers he submitted, claiming 10 of the people selected are supporters of the JLP, five did not vote in the last election and 35 were PNP supporters. By granting Members of Parliament such wide powers to select workers, it is inevitable that political affiliation will determine which workers will be selected. Neither politicians nor those who supported them are entitled to distribute scarce resources, or to preferential treatment or to benefit from such resources solely on the basis of political affiliation. In the same way, persons of a different political opinion or of no political opinion should not be discriminated against during the selection process.

We, the undersigned, call on the Most Hon Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller to remove political and partisan involvement in the JEEP programme, in particular:

1. We demand that workers be selected on the basis of their qualifications and/or availability and not by Members of Parliament; and

2. We demand that public consultation take place on the JEEP programme to ensure transparency and consensus amongst the people of Jamaica.

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The Remove Politics from JEEP petition to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller MP was written by The Activists and is in the category National Affairs at GoPetition.