Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Programs…a great investigative series

During my time as Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, I had the opportunity to work with Jamaican Ministers and officials and Canadian agencies and employers on various aspects of Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs.

The Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program (SAWP) as all Jamaicans understand is a longstanding and tremendously important aspect of our bilateral relationship.  In existence for 50 years, it has proven to be a significant contributor to Jamaica’s economic well-being (in the form of the earnings that workers bring back home) as well as Canada’s (in the form of reliable, hard-working labour for Canadian growers and producers).  Estimates from the Jamaican government suggest that the remittance amount received each year from the program is comparable to what Canada’s significant development assistance program delivers in the country.

The SAWP, and the other temporary foreign worker programs in Canada, are complex, and at times controversial.  Some Canadians are not in favour of the idea of giving employment to foreign workers.  Some foreign workers believe that they are taken advantage of under the programs.

Canada’s National Post newspaper, and other sister publications, have put out a special series on the various issues around these programs.  Written by  2015-16 Michelle Lang Fellowship recipient Alia Dharssi, they examine how Canada’s temporary foreign worker program and immigration system is shaping the country’s economy.

I have been working my way through Ms. Dharssi’s  and wanted to share them with colleagues and followers in Jamaica. They make a very interesting read.

The stories can be found at this link.

The videos can be found as this link

There are twitter hashtags noted in the articles for those who want to jump into the debate.

 

 

 

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Nothing beats getting personally involved

Canadian donors working with Jamaica Haiti to support education, health and livelihoods.

During my time as High Commissioner in Jamaica, I saw first hand the significant official cooperation that exists between Canada and Jamaica.  Programs focussed on justice reform and citizen security; entrepreneurship; public finance; military and police cooperation; disaster preparation et.  To represent Canada in the context of the delivery of these programs was an honour.  However, as these programs tended to be large-scale and multi-year, it was sometimes difficult to really connect, on a personal level, with the people benefitting from them.

I considered myself very fortunate, then, to have been able to make a connection with Food for the Poor, in particular its Canadian arm, Food for the Poor Canada, through Executive Director, Samantha Mafood, along with Ray and Donette Chang , Thalia Lyn and a number of others.

Through this contact, I was invited to participate in a school build in Accompong, near Ray Chang’s birthplace.  Being in physical contact with the project (I helped to paint the school) and the children who were the beneficiaries, as well as the donors who made the build possible, was inspiring.  Building a school was certainly on a smaller scale than the large development projects that Canada funds in Jamaica.  However, the intangible satisfaction from being able to personally help with the physical and financial effort to touch children and their community has always stayed with me.

Joanne and I have returned to Canada now and I have retired from government service.  However, I still seek to maintain connection with Jamaica (a land we love :)) by serving on the Board of Directors of Food the Poor Canada.

The organization is on a multi-year mission to increase the contribution to helping build Jamaica and Haiti and other countries in the Caribbean.  We are focussing on education (building and equipping schools), health (providing water, feeding programs and housing as well as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies) and livelihoods (i.e. bee farming).

Food for the Poor Canada has just recently updated its website presence.  I would invite you to take a look at it, it is good reading.  And while you are at it, sign up for the newsletter, and watch for what we are planning.  After doing so, if you feel you are in a position to help the organization continue to deliver its contribution to Jamaica, we would love to hear from you.

Alpha Boys School…132 years old…with an eye clearly on the future

Alpha

Yesterday was the 132nd  anniversary of Alpha Boys School (a vocational school for young men in Kingston, Jamaica run by the Religious Sisters of Mercy).  For those who love music, Alpha is an almost magical place where many of the unique musical styles that define Jamaican (Ska, Mento, Rock Steady) emerged. 

Today I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Mr. Josh Chamberlain, Special Projects Officer from Alpha.  Josh is on a visit to Canada to continue his successful efforts to build a network of musicians, technicians, educators and lovers of great Jamaican music so that the current success of Alpha can be put on a sustaining path into the future. 

I do not want to get out in front of Josh and his colleagues, but suffice it to say that, if the pieces they are developing come together, there are some very cool things coming from Alpha.  While music will always be the core of the equation, there are plans to evolve Alpha, with its unique facilities and history, into a centre of music technology and innovation.  And in the process, provide Jamaican youth with skills for real jobs that contribute to Jamaica’s future growth.

The plans are very exciting.  It will take lots of support to bring to fruition. 

If you don’t follow them already, please keep your eye on Alpha’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for upcoming developments. 

And if you don’t tune in regularly to their internet radio channel AlphaBoysSchoolRadio.com then do so immediately!  If you are Jamaican, you will recognize the tunes and styles and be transported back home.  And for the rest of us (who just wish we were Jamaican) it will have you calling the travel agent to make a booking to visit. 

Alpha Boys School Radio is your passport to Jamaican Music.  And Alpha Boys is on a path to bring more and more success to the youth who study there and more and more of Jamaica to the world. 

The misplaced goodbye

20131128_000856900_iOSJoanne and I had to miss an opportunity to get back to Jamaica recently given a variety of circumstances here in Ottawa.  We had really been looking forward to catching up with old friends.  That got me thinking again about the years we spent in Jamaica and it dawned on me that I had never really said goodbye.  Sure, I had said my farewells to the Diplomatic Corps and to the Canadian Women’s Club.  But I had wanted to say goodbye in a more widely-cast way.

Someone had suggested that I should modify my Diplomatic Corps remarks a bit and submit them as a letter to the Editors of the Gleaner and Observer.  I was intending to do that but one think led to another and the letter never got sent.  I have recently found it.

While it is more than a bit late to be newsworthy now, and a little bit strange to be posting it today, in my view it is bad form not to have said a proper goodbye.  So here is the draft of the letter I had hoped to send at the time of our departure.  Apologies for it’s late delivery.

Letter to the Editor Gleaner/Observer

One of the ironies of diplomatic life is that just as soon as you start to understand the place you are posted, you are on your way to your next assignment.  My wife Joanne and I are shortly returning to Canada. While we always knew it was inevitable, the certainty is now hitting home.  Before leaving we wanted to express our thanks and our reflections on what have been three wonderful years in Jamaica.

As a Canadian, what struck me first about Jamaica, apart from the heat, are the many historical connections that exist between our two countries.  Many probably know some of the references… Codfish for rum brought us together in the days of the British Empire, and from that, Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish, was created; the first West Indies cricket tour was to Canada in 1886; Canada’s first Prime Minister had a Jamaican wife and named his railway car “Jamaica” so she would feel at home rattling across Canada with him by train; and speaking of trains, the steam engines that used to travel Jamaica’s railroad were made in Canada – in fact in Kingston, Canada (my hometown!) You can still see one at the old station Downtown; The Bank of Nova Scotia, now ScotiaBank, opened a branch in Jamaica before doing so in Toronto; Alcan, an iconic Canadian brand from another era lead the development of the Jamaica bauxite industry; Air Canada and its close association with Air Jamaica; the large diaspora movements to Canada in the 1970s and 80s, longstanding military cooperation; the large number of students who have gone to Canada to study, and the significant growth of Canadian tourism to Jamaica.  And there may well be some references that are less familiar with…the Great Canada-Jamaica Patty War of the 1980s…look it up, its true! (no injuries were reported on either side!).  I could go on…and on…but I won’t.

Having served as High Commissioner here the other thing that strikes me is that our relationship is not just about history.  Canada shares a rich contemporary partnership with Jamaica that addresses our mutual interests.

It is in our mutual interest that Jamaica has a sound and sustainable economy with increasing levels of growth where a variety of natural resource endowments, locational advantages, talented people and a strong tourism offering can be leveraged in the international economy.

It is in our mutual interest that Jamaica is more prepared for the inevitable natural disasters that affect the Caribbean region and does not have to see hard own progress literally washed away by storms and other natural events

And it is in our mutual joint interest that Jamaica has a security and justice system in which all Jamaicans can derive safety and confidence and where criminal actors are prevented from moving, along with their illicit goods/activities beyond Jamaica’s borders only to become problems for others, including Canada.

These interests drive our program here and explain why there is such a rich and diverse set of partnerships.  Over 25 projects with acronyms ranging from JUST, CSJP, PROPEL, EPIC, COMPETE CARIBBEAN, PFM give expression to how we work together.  Tangible outcomes such as the JDF Training Centre of Excellence, justice system reform, the Citizen Security and Justice Program, tax system improvements, local economic development projects etc. are the results.

As sometimes happens between close friends, just how much we count on each other sometimes gets taken for granted.  Addressing this reality has been one of the things I have been working on during my tenure here.  Social media has provided a great venue for getting the word out about. So I hope that either through traditional or social media, one way or another, you have heard something about the priorities we are working on with Jamaica.

I have had many ask “what is the single most memorable thing of your assignment here”?  That’s an impossible question to answer.  Looking back over three years as High Commissioner it is a bit of a blur.  When I close my eyes what comes to mind starts with my arrival in Jamaica, followed almost immediately by a visit to Canada with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, which was interrupted by a last minute return trip to ensure we were on the island for Hurricane Sandy.  Next were the discussions around Jamaica’s agreement with the IMF and the satisfaction that Canada could provide some last minute support that helped seal the deal.  There are the three Christmas mornings that we shared with Monsignor Ramkisoon and Mustard Seed friends feeding 5000 inner city children and parents.  I will always remember hosting the Canadian Womens’ Club annual fashion shows and fundraising concerts for the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica in support of their tour to Canada.  And there are all the hardy souls I have met on regular morning walks at the Mona Dam…not too much conversation really…a quick “good morning” and a nod had to suffice… and then back to huffing and puffing through the exercise…at least that’s how it was for me.

One of the most lasting impressions I will have is the continued strength of the people to people links between our two countries.  Many Jamaicans are also Canadian citizens who travel back and forth regularly to visit family and friends.  Over 400,000 Canadian tourists visit this fair isle every year.  Longstanding business links continue to connect us.  Approximately 9,000 farm workers travel to Canada to work on Canadian farms providing significant benefits to both sides.  All of this creates plenty of opportunity for partnerships outside of the government to government sphere.  And that is what is happening more and more often.  From the multimillion dollar Caribbean paediatric oncology initiative of SickKids Hospital in Toronto; to partnerships with Sunnybrook Hospital; to the work that organizations like Food for the Poor Canada and PACE Canada undertake for the education sector here; through to school building programs lead by Sunwing Vacations; even to missions lead by Toronto and Winnipeg Police Services, there is an overflowing of good will and giving back to Jamaica from Canada.

Joanne and I won’t miss the daily violence that seems to be tearing the heart out of the country or what I consider the hyprocrisy of many religious groups that seem to prefer turning a blind eye to the abuse of children and young people, even in their communities, in favour of campaigning against the legal and social accommodation of the LGBT community.

Joanne and I have been lucky to have seen much of Jamaica during our time here.  The area around Port Antonio, Goblin Hill and Frenchman’s Cove was a frequent destination.  We got to Reach Falls and were disappointed to find it closed.  Fortunately, some young lads gave us what they called “the local tour”…all six falls and pools!  That was exciting and probably my best real Jamaica experience.  Joanne made have one-upped me with her visit to the Bath hotsprings.  Apparently the visit involved swimming suits; Rasta-type men; hot water; guests being rubbed with towels… yikes! For further details, you will have to ask Joanne…I told here I didn’t want to know any more details!

I attended funerals all over Kingston and into deep rural Jamaica, even giving eulogies for people I did not know.  Work and pleasure took us to Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Runaway Bay, Accompong, Negril, Spalding, Fielding, Mandeville, Treasure Beach, Spanish Town, Portmore, Moneague, Linstead, Port Antonio, Greenwich, Newcastle and places in between.  We have painted schools with Food for the Poor; done any number of 5K walks for charity; handed over computers; cut ribbons at handover events; officiated at sporting events; helped to organize fashion shows; rappelled off high buildings; shot military weapons; presided over a Jamaica Regiment/Royal Canadian Regiment Dinner and taken the formal salute from the Massed Band; and I spoke at every opportunity I could get.

Not only have we seen much of Jamaica…Jamaica has seen much of us.  Nothing prepared me for the number of photographs that would be taken of me here (many taken by the gracious Mr. Winston Sill, may he rest in peace). What do the Gleaner and Observer photographers do with all those photos after someone leaves the island?  I gradually got used to the photos, but am more than a bit concerned that there is hardly a one of them that doesn’t show me holding a glass of red wine…!  However, no one prepared me for the “celebrity” status of having a young man from Kingston College correctly identify me in a photograph to successfully answer the final question and win the School Challenge Quiz!  I believe that young man will go far!

But finally, the most lasting impression is the people.  We have met some amazing individuals here.  Jamaicans are among the friendliest and helpful people Joanne and I have ever met.  From my “walking friends” at the Mona Dam; to my social media friends with whom I am in daily contact. I have met people of great character, in the business, political and voluntary sectors, who have been willing to give me advice and counsel, introductions, or who have simply offered friendship. All of these people are working in their own ways to build Jamaica. Joanne and I have made great friends and colleagues in the diplomatic corps. But our deepest thanks goes to the staff of the Canadian High Commission. Thanks are owed them all for the support they have provided us, in particular the local staff who always have to adjust every three years or so to a new High Commissioner and his or her peculiarities.  I hope we have not been too peculiar!

As I think back to 3 ½ years ago, I was in a group of newly minted Ambassadors and High Commissioners getting some training before we left for our assignments.  The final word came from a retired former Ambassador who said…

”the most important thing you have to remember is who you are.   You are going overseas to fulfill a function that is important, and that, by definition, comes with much prestige and privilege.  But always remember that the day you finish your assignment and come home you will no longer be “Your Excellency”.  No one will be waiting to open the door and to drive you places. There will be no reserved seat at functions for you.  And unless you get into trouble with the law…the media will not at all care who you are or what you say.  You will still be the same ordinary person you were the day before you took up the assignment.”

I have always thought that was good advice and have tried to perform my functions with that in mind.

If it misses the mark anywhere it is that while we may be returning to Canada as ordinary people, we take with us the memories of 3 extraordinary years in Jamaica.  Joanne and I would like simply say thank you one and all for making that possible.

“Walk Good”…

Joanne and I will

“Soon Come”…

back to Jamaica to visit!

Robert and Joanne Ready

 

 

Keeping your promises…easier said than done

The Jamaican election is now over (although at this writing recounts were underway) and the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and its leader, the Right Honourable Andrew Holness, looks as though it will soon be taking office.

While Jamaican elections have their own individual character, this one seems to have followed the recent trends that have appeared in other countries.Nobody tells truth

Voters are clearly tired with incumbent administrations generally, and, more specifically the politics of restraint (perhaps particularly so in Jamaica where the governing PNP administration has been successfully implementing an IMF program that has limited fiscal programs).  Beyond this there is a broader malaise; a widespread voter apathy which has resulted in lower and lower turnouts for elections in general.  And, as in other countries, Jamaica has seen the development of an increasingly vibrant and vocal social media community, which (depending on your perspective), has either lead, or reflected, a general rejection of incumbent governments, usually on the grounds that they do not consult on their programs; that they appear to govern for the benefit of the few; and that they tend towards arrogance and entitlement in the conduct of the public’s business.

This seems to be the generally unsettling context then in which the new Jamaican government takes office.  Among the several daunting challenges it faces will be how to ensure that it does not fall prey to the very sentiments that helped it come to power.

Perhaps it can look to the experience in other countries for some ideas.  The recently elected government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is faced with (some) similar challenges. While I don’t want to force similarities that are too close between Canada and Jamaica, there may be some instructive ideas from our recent government transition.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration has from the beginning put great emphasis on ensuring that it will remain focused on what is important…i.e. delivering on the promises they made during the election.  Whether it does so is of course another thing altogether…but, they have increased their odds of doing so through a number of important steps they have taken. And in doing so they are increasing their chances of being more than a one term government.

The JLP and Holness Transition Team might do well to consider the following ideas:

Create a Cabinet and government “culture” that is single-mindedly focussed on achieving promised results  

In a Canadian context this has meant looking abroad and adopting the concept of “deliverology”.  This rather awkwardly titled approach to public administration, developed by Sir Michael Barber of the UK (an advisor to the Blair government), is really nothing more than common sense and measurement/tracking of progress so that necessary adjustments to implementation can be introduced to ensure delivery as promised.

For more information on the concept of deliverology, and its adoption in Canada, see these articles from The Economist and Macleans Magazine.

In Barber’s own words:

“What I discovered with others in the Blair administration was that you could put in place some basic approaches that, if you followed them through, would make it much more likely that you’d deliver what you’d promised than otherwise.”

Focussing on results…as simple as it seems in concept… it is harder to internalize in large organizations with wide-ranging mandates.  It is harder still to accomplish when Ministers must also respond to day-to-day challenges of administering their departments; staying in touch with constituency business; responding to the latest “urgency”; and fulfilling all the other related-duties of public life.

So one of the first moves the Trudeau administration made was to seek to internalize concept of deliverology to all Cabinet Ministers in a special retreat shortly after taking office.  In addition each department has also been instructed to establish an office dedicated to deliverology to support their Minister in monitoring progress.

Now, I am not suggesting that the Jamaican government should immediately go out and hire an expensive international consultant.  However, it might want to consider setting up an accountability and reporting framework that will allow them to keep their eye on what is important…the promises they made that generated the support they required to win the election.

Spell out and communicate clear accountabilities – not just at the platform level – but at the level of individial Ministers.

All governments have their electoral platforms which form the basis of the promises they have made to the people.  The JLP is no exception.  See their Manifesto.  http://jamaicalabourparty.com/sites/default/files/public/JLP_Manfesto%202016-FINAL.pdf

In order to direct and manage the implementation of these platforms most Prime Ministers find ways to communicate their expectations to their Ministers and caucus.  However, in today’s world, particularly with media savvy, young voters, it is important to also communicate these expectations to the people.

Upon taking office in Canada, the incoming Trudeau government has found a novel way to do this.  While successive Canadian governments have relied on internal (and hitherto “Secret”) “mandate letters” from the Prime Minister to instruct Cabinet Ministers as to his/her priorities for action, the Trudeau government has taken it a step further and made these letters public.  The mandate letters sent by Prime Minister Trudeau set out the general expectations for the government’s style, behaviour, and approach to governance, but most importantly, identify those issues where the Prime Minister expects results.  The list of deliverables is not the sum total of issues a Minister might be called upon to address during his/her term in office, but rather are the priorities that they must always keep in mind.

The interesting thing is that with these letters in hand, the public and the media (social media included) can follow along through the term of the government and track each Minister’s achievement (or not) of key deliverables.

See the announcement of Canada’s Ministerial mandate letters here.

See the mandate letters for Canadian Ministers here.

Consult widely and report on the progress of your program

Another area where the new Canadian government has placed priority is consultation.  This is not say that previous governments have not consulted.  However, the new government has consciously emphasized engaging citizens, particularly those they feel have been under represented, i.e. First Nation aboriginal groups.

Consultation is being used to gain policy insights, to increase the feeling of inclusion on the part of citizens; and to generate broader support for the governments program.  Fundamentally, I believe it is also expected to create a more forgiving electorate, one that is better informed on issues, cognizant of the trade-offs involved in public policy and prepared to be more understanding of mistakes and failures to reach all targets.

(As an aside, care needs to be taken to ensure that (as may be happening already in Canada) consultation does not become an alternative to taking action)

The JLP government would do well to emphasize consultation and outreach as part of their focus on delivering on promises.  Indeed, they do not need to look very far for a model and could do worse than take a page from the PNP administration, which set up the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) to monitor and report on IMF Programme implementation.  Many would say that the PNP government succeeded against long odds in fully meeting the obligations of the IMF program.  And many would also say that the existence of the EPOC is one of the reasons for this success. No one liked the IMFs harsh medicine.  However, having respected thought leaders from outside of government monitor, and be available to comment on IMF implementation, helped to de-politicize the file and certainly helped disseminate accurate information and continuously underline the importance of the file to Jamaicans.   

The JLP program certainly contains a number of challenges.  While the EPOC model might not be a good fit for all files that will confront the government, the ideas behind it…consultation; commitment to partnership; information sharing with the people and reporting on progress certainly would be. A similar consultation model might help increase the chances of delivery of other elements of the new government’s platform.

Breaking Promises

The role of the public service in Westminster elections

The Prime Minister of Jamaica has called an election for February 25.  That will set in motion all kinds of activity on the part of candidates and supporters.  Watching my twitter feed since the election call, I have noticed that the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) still in full swing putting out a wide variety of government messages.

I was reminded that Canada’s recent election saw our Public Service governed by a comprehensive and strict protocol designed to ensure electoral fairness and the non-partisan traditions of our public service and governance system.

In brief, immediately from the launch of the election, Canada’s bureaucratic apparatus, and the Ministers overseeing it, were instructed by the Clerk of the Privy Council to abide by what is called the “Caretaker Convention”.  This is a tradition or “convention” that has built up in the context of Westminster democratic governance.

The Convention suggests that during an election campaign the government must refrain from making significant decisions related to policy, spending or appointments.  While routine business can go ahead, largely delivered by the public service, emergency issues, while they can be addressed by the government, are expected to be managed in consultation with opposition parties.  This is because during an election it is not clear that a government enjoys what is called “the confidence of the Parliament”.  This is how the system works.  A party must be able to demonstrate that it has the support of a majority of elected MPs before it can govern.  And the Parliament must convene in order to test this important principle.  A significant and intertwined understanding is that the public service must not be used by a political party to gain an electoral advantage over another.

Canada’s Clerk of the Privy Council sought to codify this principle when she released written guidance circulated to all departments and agencies, and in turn to most of the public service.

There is a lot to absorb in this document and it is worth a read in its entirety.  I have, however, extracted below the portion that is relevant to the public service, and the expectations that both it and Ministers should have during election campaigns.

“…As always, public servants must not be asked to perform political tasks or work normally done by ministerial exempt staff, and departmental facilities and resources cannot be used for partisan purposes. This includes:

  • ministers’ departmental offices, wherever located;
  • regional ministerial offices; and
  • services such as translation, printing, preparation of communications material and telecommunications (e.g. video services and mobile telephones).

Ministers’ and ministers of states’ departmental communications and public affairs units must not be involved in partisan matters. They may provide ministers and ministers of state with existing factual information, but they must not be asked to perform any additional or expanded services. Similarly, some regular departmental operations that continue during an election period, such as media monitoring, may need to be reviewed and adjusted to ensure that they are not inadvertently applied to ministers’ campaign activities. Department-supported websites and social media channels (and any information derived from them) should continue to be used only for official government communications, and government resources should not be used to support personal or partisan social media accounts.

Government or departmental announcements are curtailed during an election period:

Exceptions would be made, for example, in the case of

  • a significant international or domestic event where the failure to have the Prime Minister or minister comment would do damage to Canadian interests or prestige, or announcements relating to the health and safety of Canadians;
  • announcements that must proceed are made in the name of the department;

As always, communications and public announcements that are prepared using government resources must not contain partisan information or identifiers; and

Any department seeking to make an announcement, as approved by the deputy head, would need approval by PCO.

Ministers and ministers of state should be careful in the use and distribution of governmental publications during an election campaign. Such publications can be distributed, but only as would occur under normal circumstances in support of official government business…”

This Caretaker Convention and the Clerk’s document were not without controversy  this time around in Canada.  The Conservative Government, acting, it said, in accordance with the Convention continued to negotiate, and ultimately finalized, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement during the campaign period.  There was active debate as to whether this met the various tests set out in the Clerk’s document.

And in a non-controversial, but somewhat disappointing, context (at least to the former High Commissioner to Jamaica) the Canadian High Commission in Kingston was asked to forgo the opportunity to formally sign, with the Government of Jamaica, a five year old Air Transport Agreement (already being administratively implemented).

Clearly the TPP was more significant, and risked more of the Canadian interest, than the air agreement.  However, the fact that public service managers considered the Caretaker Convention so clear as to prevent a signing of a non-controversial international treaty with Jamaica is proof of the seriousness with which electoral fairness and the appearance of such, is taken in our system.  I am not sure the same can be said for what seems like the ongoing work of the JIS (see screen grab below from this afternoon).

2016-02-02

 

 

I am not suggesting that the JIS is necessarily engaged in partisan work.  And not knowing their full history, perhaps they are understood to be more part of the political apparatus and process in Jamaica.  However, to the extent that they are using government budgets and resources, it might be appropriate that they examine what it is they are communicating and how they are doing it.

I want to be clear.  I am an interested observer only of the current Jamaican election.  I do not have a “side”, or an interest in being seen to influence, in any way, the political debate.  Further, I am not sure whether Jamaica would have a similar approach or understanding of the Caretaker Convention.  And I am not sure whether instructions, similar to the Canadian ones referred to above, have been issued to the Public Service, now or in the past.  However, when the dust settles maybe it is something to have on the agenda.