We see the need for the creation of entirely new communities organized along different lines to the present villages. These new villages would be self-contained communities with a housing estate, shopping area, recreational facilities, including community centre, properly planned and maintained roads, health clinic, church, school and a properly organized bus service.
Each house will be properly equipped with its own toilet and bath facilities and electricity. There will be at least a number of public telephones for the use of tile village. The people of the village will .run the village through their local Village Assembly.
The aim of these new villages would be to townify the country and countrify the town; that is, we would aim at providing the best features of town life to folk living in the country and vice versa.
Since politics deals with the making of decisions, and since politics is largely the process which decides who gets what, where, how and when, New Jewel does not consider it to be the function of an exclusive club. NJM stands solidly behind People's Assemblies as the new form of government that will involve all the people all the time. Through this form, people will be assured of both their political and their economic rights. To us, People's Assemblies will bring in true democracy.
Nevertheless, NJM does not expect that People's Assemblies will be able to take over right away. It will take time to get these Assemblies really going. We therefore hold that when power changes hands in the near future, there will have to be a provisional government, an in-between government. That government will be dedicated to the task of developing People's Assemblies, among other things. It will have the task of starting, promoting, encouraging and generally bringing into being these Assemblies.
Who will make up this new Government? That will have to emerge more precisely as the circumstances develop. As a guide, that government will be made up of a cross-section of the society. It will be made up of all major groups, without regard to favour GULP, GNP, JEWEL, alike. Ability, dedication and patriotism will be the standards. it will be made up of representatives of workers and unions, farmers, police, civil servants, nurses, teachers, businessmen and students. These groups will be consulted in advance and they will choose their own representatives on the government. That assembly made up of representatives of all groups in the island will be the government.
The government will operate on the basis of collective leadership. All important decisions will be made by the whole group. There will be no Premier. The Assembly will elect a different chairman at intervals. Details as to who will be in charge of which Ministry will be worked out by the Assembly.
Later on, however, after consultation with the people at large, and with their consent, People's Assemblies will be implemented.
How will these Assemblies work? NJM has covered this subject at great length in previous publications. We shall only summarise it here.
But before we do this, let us state that we are rejecting the party system for many reasons. Firstly, parties divide the people into warring camps. Secondly, the system places power into the hands of a small ruling clique. That clique victimises and terrorises members of the other party. Thirdly, the ruling elite seizes control of all avenues of public information, for example, the radio station, and uses them for its own ends. Finally, and most importantly, it fails to involve the people except for a few seconds once in every five years when they make an X on a ballot paper. Therefore, we wish to replace the party system by People's Assemblies as outlined below.
Firstly, there will be the Village Assemblies. Each adult citizen, from eighteen years of age, will be a member of his Village Assembly. The Village .Assembly will discuss the problems of the village and take decisions of them. It will meet, say, once a month. The Village Assembly will elect a small Council to implement its decisions. That Council or any member of it can be dismissed and replaced at any time that the Assembly decides.
Secondly, we propose the creation of Parish Assemblies. These will be made up of representatives from throughout the parish. Each Village Assembly will send two delegates to the Parish Assembly. The Parish Assembly will elect a Parish Council. These Assemblies will discuss the problems of the parishes and reach decisions on them. it will be the duty of the Parish Councils to implement these decisions.
Thirdly, we advocate the creation of Workers Assemblies, which will be organised along similar lines to the Village Assemblies. These Assemblies would be entitled to representation in the National Assembly. These Assemblies would comprise, for example, stevedores, nurses, teachers, students and so on. Workers Assemblies will ensure that the present exploitation of workers being carried on by certain leaders in the name of Trade Unionism will come to an end. This will be so because for the first time the control and direction of their own lives will be in the hands of the workers themselves rather than in the hands of corrupt politicians whose only interests are in lining their pockets and riding on the backs of the labouring masses to keep political power.
Finally there is the National Assembly. This will be the Government of the land. It will be made up of representatives chosen from each village and the Workers Assembly, one each. The national Assembly will elect its Council to put the decisions into practice. Members of the Council will be on Committees which will head government departments.
The precise demarcation and division of powers and functions, age participation, and normal frequency of elections will have to be agreed upon, after further discussions by the people. Power, however, will be rooted in the villages and at our places of work. At any tine, the village can fire and replace its Council, its representative on the Parish Assembly, or its representative on the National Assembly. Together, the people of the villages and workers can throw out the whole National Assembly and put in a new one. In this way, power will be in the hands of the people of the villages.
People's Assemblies, therefore, will end the deep divisions and victimisation of the people found under the party system. This new form will involve all the people in decision-making, all the time.