Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The right to life – and a living

Jamaica's Ambassador to the USA - Hon Audrey Marks

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer | 16 August 2010

I had a long conversation recently with our dynamic new Ambassador to Washington, Audrey Marks. She has been explaining to some pretty big names on Capitol Hill that PM Golding had taken one of the greatest risks of his political life in the extradition proceedings against Christopher Coke. She is asking that “he and Jamaica need to be supported in the thrust to continue dismantling garrisons and revitalising downtown Kingston by providing security and socioeconomic resources similar to Plan Colombia”.

Marks says that some of the senior US folks were impressed that Golding took such an unpopular (if belated) stand in his own constituency. There is certainly no perfect situation under the sun, and though I was disappointed by his handling of the situation, there was a significant reduction in crime during the State of Emergency. We agreed that in time Jamaica's respected electoral system will allow the people to have their say.

This is in no way to defend Golding, but to defend Jamaica from those who would try to squeeze the last bit of political mileage out of every situation, even if it means squeezing the country half to death. Why in heaven’s name did the PNP “abstain” from the vote to extend the State of Emergency? Look at the heartless murder of eight Jamaicans at Tredegar Park on Friday morning! One colleague commented, “Don't these human rights people believe in the right to life?”

Jamaica's political front definitely needs some fresh faces and so we commend colleague Betty-Ann Blaine on the formation of her new NNC party. Ah yes, the fate of third parties in Jamaica seems almost inevitable, but who knows? The NNC may merge with the NDM and give Jamaicans a viable third option.

We should also acknowledge the relevance of Gordon “Butch” Stewart's call at this time, for less talk and more support for business. This is how we will keep our young people out of gangs. The problem of unemployment in Jamaica is a serious crisis and businesses are getting a beating, instead of being empowered to expand and create more jobs. Jamaica has no smog like Russia, no floods like Pakistan, no landslides like China, no desert like the Sudan, no war like Afghanistan. We have optimum conditions for productivity, but serious bureaucratic roadblocks.

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