Left to right: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and UWP political leader Lennox Linton
Left to right: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and UWP political leader Lennox Linton

In the upcoming INDEPENDENCE issue of LINK magazine (it makes for FABULOUS reading, even if I say so myself…) there is this remarkable quotation from the BIBLE (Matthew 13:30):

The wheat and the weeds can grow together until the harvest.A Modern translation could be: Government & Opposition can and should work together until election time…

Hopefully we will see some of this practiced in respect of the official celebrations of our Independence Anniversary. We must all hope that the anticipated cooperation then happens on more of a year-round basis. Especially on how we deal with development issues and related like Climate Change.

As we start implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we can reflect on a new notion of progress. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report for the Caribbean titled "Multidimensional Progress: human resilience beyond income", launched last month in Barbados, makes the case (and impressively so - google it!) for a "new generation" of public policies to boost resilience and increase gains in the economic, social and environmental fronts, including peace and justice.

This "multidimensional progress" entails not only adapting to shocks but means breaking through structural obstacles that hinder growth and people's well-being -- beyond the traditional measurements of living above or below a poverty line. This holistic approach is crucial, especially for islands like ours. After decades of persistent low growth, human vulnerability has seemingly increased and CARICOM countries' Human Development Index – the composite measure of income, education and longevity -- ranking has dropped over the last five years. Jamaica and Dominica, two extreme cases, have fallen 23 and 10 positions respectively.

When the human development results of the Caribbean are situated in a context of slow, volatile and low economic growth, high debt and high unemployment (as well as under-employment, especially among youth ) a clear picture emerges showing the deep interconnectedness between human progress and the challenges of all Caribbean state institutions to cope!

Next time, we look precisely at some of the UNDP's ideas to help.