P.J’s Legacy


Jamaica’s outgoing prime minister, P J Patterson, in his final appeal to the political leaders before leaving Gordon House, called for bipartisan consensus on at least two of three issues of full sovereignty facing Jamaica. The three issues are:

. the entrenchment in the Jamaican Constitution of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

. completion of the process of “decolonisation”, by creating a Republican system of government, with a president as the head of state, with authority derived directly from the people of Jamaica; and

. completing the process of the Caribbean Court of Justice becoming the Jamaica’s final appellate court.

“These are changes which signify the maturing of a people and symbolise the unity and identity of the Jamaican nation,” Patterson said. “I challenge the new leaders, on both sides of the House, to commit to having at least two of these changes taking place before the next general elections are constitutionally due.” The next general election is constitutionally due by October 2007. That gives us a year and a half.


i&i would like to propose a series of “Reasonings” in the style of Fred Friendly Socratic seminars, in order to advance this program. i would like to see these Reasonings held in Kingston for PBCJ, in Cambridge for CCTV, and in other cities of the world in which the Jamaican diaspora finds home for and with community media there. Initial topics on which to reason those posed by P.J. Patterson:

* (1) completion of the process of “decolonisation”, by creating a Republican system of government, with a president as the head of state, with authority derived directly from the people of Jamaica; how would a change in the form of government from parliamentary to republican affect existing lines of corruption? do you really want to know?
* (2) entrenchment in the Jamaican Constitution of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; can you face your homophobia? do you really want to know?
* (3) completing the process of the Caribbean Court of Justice becoming the Jamaica’s final appellate court. who will adjudicate issues which arise under the treaty with the maroons? what difference does it make?

Here is an example of a Fred Friendly Socratic Professor Nesson did long ago, Eye On The Media, done with CBS, 1982. Watch the first ten minutes or so to get the idea. This kind of interactive moderated discussion opens a more general discussion face to face, through community meeting and media, and online.

Key to producing seminars like these is having the right people at the table. Technical production is facilitated by recording the event at a television studio. Sponsorship opportunities abound.

i would be pleased to contribute effort to get such reasoning started.

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