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Despite many public statements at the highest level assuring commitment to environmental protection
and sustainability, the Jamaican government has failed to operationalize these promises. Deforestation,
soil erosion, degradation of coastal ecosystems, over-fishing, poor air quality, poorly managed parks
and protected areas, pollution of harbours, rivers, streams and aquifers, unplanned and unregulated
settlements in areas most vulnerable to natural disasters, inadequate management of solid and liquid
waste, and poor development planning and control are key features of the state of Jamaica’s natural
environment. It has long been recognized that the weakness of the environmental regulatory and
institutional framework is the primary obstacle to good environmental stewardship.
A country’s ability to mobilize revenue through taxation (i.e. to have an efective tax system) is synonymous with its capacity to
achieve sustainable growth and development.Through taxes, the state receives the funding necessary to perform its functions
and duties efectively. As such, the first and often the main objective of a tax system is to generate sufficient revenue to finance
public sector activities in a non-inflationary way. This report focuses on the relative effectiveness of different tax types–value
added taxes, income taxes, and property taxes – to generate revenue in the Jamaican context.
It assesses and compares the efficiency of each tax type, and in so doing, will guide tax policy-makers as to whether the tax structure should shif away from
taxing income (“your pay”) or taxing consumer spending (“your pocket”).
If Jamaica is to significantly lower the rates of homicide and other violent crimes, and weaken the power of criminal networks
in the society, a renewed attempt at a thorough transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is unavoidable. This
transformation should bring the force more in line with democratic policing principles and methods of work, and make it
more effective as an instrument of crime prevention and control. The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has initiated a process
which is intended to produce a Police Service Act. The GOJ has provided some cues for the direction of the new Act, which
are to transform the JCF from a “force” into a “service,” and to transform policing from a basis on the doctrine of national
security to policing based on the idea of citizen security. The policy instructions for the new Act also include making the
police service “intelligence-led.” This report is not a prescription for the transformation of the consistently active and fairly well-resourced groups such as the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) and other private sector groups which try to influence national security policy. Thus the report is intended to contribute to the process becoming more participatory and deliberative with regard to the principles that should govern policing in Jamaica, and to thereby increase the demand for these principles to be given the force of law, and that the new Police Service Act is crafted as an instrument for the transformation of the JCF.
Jamaica’s open data programme has advanced further than most of its counterparts in the Caribbean, placing it at the top of most regional rankings. In recent years there have been legislative developments (data protection legislation tabled; open data policy in development), infrastructural developments (portal), as well as capacity building through data training programmes. Despite recent developments, the country has experienced very limited impact from its open data programme thus far. Our analysis found that case studies have illustrated the considerable possibilities and potential value that can be derived from open data, including improved governance, empowered citizens, complex problem-solving, and the creation of new economic opportunities. For Jamaica to extract the benefits offered by open data, more emphasis should be placed on improving data quality and data distribution, as well as on building capacity to use data among the broad spectrum of users. A shift from the status quo is required, to move from a predominantly reactive approach to government institutions releasing data, to one that is generally proactive – released voluntarily and frequently. In addition, there is need for ongoing and systematic collaboration between the GoJ, intermediaries and users, and targeting very specifc issues to be solved by open data.