For Immediate Release
July 14, 2017
“Political Leaders Alone Can’t Solve the Problems” – Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC)
Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) has called on civil society groups to strengthen their role in policy advocacy. She says civil society groups need to be more willing and able to critique pending Laws and policies and to make written submissions with recommendations for their improvement.
“Our political leaders alone can’t solve our countries’ and region’s problems. Citizens are affected by every policy, so must organize and be present and accounted for in decision-making processes and spaces” Dr. Gomes said ahead of the start of a two-day, policy research and advocacy training workshop for civil society groups, held July 6- 7 in Kingston. Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition and the Jamaica Civil Society Forum jointly staged the workshops as part of a series being supported by the European Union.
Monica Brown, Project Officer of CVC, said the aim is to equip more civil society organizations with the necessary skills to be better able to make sound, evidence-based responses to national policies and legislation.
Commenting on the need for citizens to go beyond “off the cuff reactions” and the “nine day wonder”, Dr Gomes said significant changes have been made to Bills that are currently before the Parliament, based on amendments proposed by various civil society groups. These include the Bills relating to the National Identification System and the Zones of Special Operations, Special Security and Community Development Measures.
Rodje Malcolm, Advocacy Officer of Jamaicans for Justice, one of the groups involved in the training, urged citizens to read Bills which are on the Parliament’s website and formulate a response based on their experience and on research. “Citizen involvement that is well informed often makes the difference between good quality or poorly thought out or too loosely worded legislation and policy. If passed without being improved such legislation or policy may fail to achieve the results expected at best or do harm to citizens at worst.” Mr Malcolm stated.