Monday, June 7, 2010

No more nightmares

MUNROE... Golding did what his predecessors did not do — take on the crime monster

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | 7 June 2010

DID you have a hard time figuring which day it was last week? Had problems sleeping? Recent events in Jamaica have been traumatic for those directly affected, and troubling for even those far away from West Kingston. We started to lose our bearings as the Hannah Town Police Station went up in flames, and were horrified to hear successive stories about attacks on other stations. We realised that Jamaica was on the verge of anarchy.

As we learnt about the police-military operations in West Kingston, it was clear that the Bruce Golding-led government would not emerge unscathed from these happenings. It was a clear case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

A month after he had won the general election in September 2007, I saw a concerned Bruce Golding telling a gathering of businesspeople that 72 per cent of the Jamaican workforce did not have a single high school qualification and 76 per cent did not have a marketable skill. He said he wanted to introduce compulsory schooling up to the age of 18, offering trade training as an option. Golding knew that he had inherited a powder keg.

In 2002, I remember meeting with Morin Seymour at the Kingston Restoration Company appealing for help so that our church ministry could start a skills training programme in Grant's Pen. He linked us to HEART-NTA and for the past eight years nearly 800 students have graduated from the Stella Maris Foundation programme. The majority have found employment while the others have started small enterprises. Five years later Amcham established their Peace Centre, contributing significantly to the health and safety of the community.

Yes, Grant's Pen may still have its occasional difficulties, but nothing compares to those terrible days before these projects got into gear. I heard a commentator on a Newstalk Sunday programme, branding the current security exercise as "class warfare". He should know that most of our community empowerment projects are heavily funded by Jamaica's private sector, many of whose leaders started from scratch and genuinely want prosperity for the less fortunate members of our Jamaican family.

We have worked with some of the most ambitious, peace-loving Jamaicans in Grant's Pen and were puzzled that with all the fervour they were showing for the two major political parties, there was no sustained strategic plan from their representatives for achieving a more productive and peaceful community.

A reader said she told her daughter last week, "If we were to simply stop and take stock of all of the communities between Bull Bay and Old Harbour that surround Kingston and St Andrew, and if we were to add to the inventory those in Montego Bay and include places like May Pen and Sav-la-mar, then we would realise that we are surrounded by communities trapped by criminality in which, after 400 years, our people -- ironically since Independence -- have been enslaved once more. I named them for her, those I know."

She continued, "I did this because I could not understand the shift of the focus of the media from this criminality that is strangling (our) economic, social (growth) and causing the loss of so many of our brothers and sisters -- this criminality that was now under attack by the security forces -- to the rights of persons who had just a couple days before marched on the Parliament of this land demanding that their 'protector' be left to do 'his thing'. I recognise they are also victims but we are at war whether we know it or not and have been at war for a very long time..."

In view of this sad reality, our political representatives should be more serious and focused in their discussion of the proposed crime bill now before the House. Of course, it should be thoroughly debated and amended, if necessary, but the doublespeak and grandstanding around this important piece of legislation is out of place. When will our parliamentarians learn to leave their egos and their baggage at the door?

These representatives of the people are paid by the people to work for the betterment of their constituencies and their country. They have run the state into the ground, allowing, as my reader says, the return of plantation oppression and terror into many communities. If all Jamaica could have moved a vote of no-confidence last week, it would probably have been against both sides of the House.

A local study on trust revealed the following: The highest levels of trust went to (1) family (2) school (3) university and (4) church while the lowest went to (1) local government councils (2) political parties (3) the police and (4) Parliament.

Of the four at the lower end, only the police have been making a concerted effort to clean up their act. We should not use the cop-out that politicians are incorrigible; we vote for them and we can tell them in no uncertain terms whom we will refuse to vote for. All of us so-called educated and decent folk will have to do the research, and lay down more stringent criteria for those who wish to be called "honourable".

While I was outraged at the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips issue (it was the "change and decay" I had mentioned in a previous column), I am willing to accept Bruce Golding's apology. Many had watched communities become progressively ill long before Golding became MP of Western Kingston. Finally it was left to him to give the order for a most painful procedure, his only option before the disease could metastasise.

Professor Trevor Munroe was quoted by Observer reporter Paul Henry as saying that Golding should not be counted out just yet, noting that he has now done what seven prime ministers before him had failed to do: "take on the crime monster".

"Munroe said that it would be a big plus for Golding if his "surgery" to rid the country and "the Jamaican body politic" of this cancer, starting in Western Kingston, started the process of healing, and renewal," wrote Henry.

How will the PNP respond? Since neither side can declare innocence, we expect them to join with the government to expedite this long-awaited dawning of a new day for Jamaica. Let us make it clear to PNP and JLP representatives alike that we the people are putting them on notice: no more nightmares.


Jah Selassi
Mrs. Chin please stop confusing heroism with selfishness. Bruce is not a hero, he is a corrupted selfish politician out to save his own skin. Bruce took an oath to defend the Jamaican people. He sold them out at every oppertunity. Bruce abondoned the garrison mentality, just to escape the web of lies he entangled himself in. Bruce is responsible for all this anarchy. He is only loyal to himself and will plunge Jamaica back in a worse nightmare, to maintain his political life.
Wa Tch
The PM deceived Parliament - that is a monumental disgrace and to amke matters worse, his deception was done on the world stage. As for taking on the crime monster, that suggests a deliberate initiative like that well crafted MP&P one, but no the PM was forced into a corner and had no choice. Either that or lose him shirt. So you can accept his apology and abandon principle in the process. Jamaican politics will be the worse off for it.
Rovert Sirrah
It's all well and good that the guy apologised but in my humble opinion thats not enough. The guy got to go......he can't be trusted !!!!!....
Lou Brown
Part of the solution to exorbitant electricity rates lies in the eradication of illegal connections overall but especially in garrison areas where some people are said to have been getting a free ride for many many years. The bottom line is that JPS has to collect for total usage of electricity and the good suffers for the bad. Bear in mind that JPS is a monopoly and to break the strangle, the Private Sector needs to consider Wind and Solar energy.

David Dennis
My guess is that at some point in time, Bruce Golden will be deemed the savior of our notion like Abraham Lincoln is praised for ending slavery, though he was against doing so at first but eventually did so to save his presidency.
Ramon Castro
Although back in a comer, the PM has done something that under normal circumstances would never happen. That is attacking the crime monster. And, the think that it started in his own constituency and and a JLP stronghold would be unthinkable a few months ago.
Instead of calling for the PM resignation even though he has NOT committed a crime and has NOT VIOLATED the Constitution, the call should -- rid communities of don, seize their ill gained assets and Constitutional Amendments.

No comments:

Post a Comment