Wed | Jan 29, 2020

Lessons from America’s impeachment process

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2019 | 12:11 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

As I watch the impeachment process against its president unfold in America, I can’t help but make comparisons with Jamaica.

The Americans have it right – and they have had it right for 400 years now. We the Jamaican people need to observe the Americans and LEARN from them.

People in Jamaica know that our politicians are corrupt. They know that the corruption has been going on for decades and has switched hands from PNP to JLP, and vice-versa, yet we have no mechanism to remove them.

The Americans have always expected politicians to be corrupt. hence, they have put systems in place that give them the leverage they need to remove these people expeditiously.

In America, a politician’s actions don’t necessarily have to rise to the level of legality or illegality.

In America, politicians can be removed for quid pro quo (Latin for “something for something”). How many times have we seen quid pro quo unfold in Jamaica?

Let me expand by way of example: Is it necessarily illegal for a Jamaican politician to take payment from a foreign entity or person in exchange for that politician selling them a nationally owned asset? Not necessarily, but is it a quid pro quo? Can it be construed as “an abuse of power”? Of course. Is it ETHICAL? Of course not.

These are avenues that should be enshrined in our constitution! ‘ETHICS’, ‘OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE’, ‘ABUSE OF POWER’, and ‘QUID PRO QUO’.

STOP DIEHARD POLITICS

Jamaican politicians have become masters at concealing their illegal activities.

The Americans are mature and will not hesitate to switch parties if those rules aren’t stringently adhered to.

Stop adhering to diehard political loyalty, and judge each issue on the basis of the above-mentioned strictures, and vote on those bases primarily, if not entirely – right or wrong, ethical or unethical, abuse of power or not, obstruction of justice or not, or the VERY appearance thereof.

This is what has sustained the social and economic stability of the United States for centuries. In contrast, look at our condition.

If at all we could evolve to that level of maturity, we would be better off. It’s time to change our Constitution and our mindset, people!

PAUL HAYE