Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mother Nature laughed till she cried

People use a rope as a guide across the dry river in Harbour View, St Andrew, Thursday prior to the restoration of the high ford that was damaged during this week’s heavy rains. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, October 04, 2010

When she heard the argument between our political leaders over who had 'the power', Mother Nature laughed so hard that she cried. As her tears swelled our rivers and tore through our gully banks, politicians of both stripes were once again reminded of their powerlessness. But they refuse to learn -- some even act as if they are gracing the Lord with their presence when they attend church services.

Speaking of church, who told that poor police officer to annoy Local Government Minister 'Bobby' Montague? As the goodly minister spoke at the thanksgiving service for Constable Sheldon 'Sylvan' Williams, he grew increasingly emotional in his call for the officer's killers to be brought to justice.

The congregation responded in like manner, and a concerned officer tugged at the minister's jacket, signalling that time was going. To put it lightly, the minister was not amused and told him in no uncertain terms: "Don't pull mi jacket!" -- Great prime time footage!

But seriously, last week's heavy rains once again focused our news cameras on the terrible conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans live and made us wonder why we were paying so many elected officials to do such a bad job. There are 60 MPs, various mayors and councillors, all of whom are paid from the public purse. Their expressed role is service to the members of their respective parishes and constituencies and yet they cannot among themselves find solutions to prevent the tragedies that unfolded.

If we measure the column inches generated by their politicking, they dwarf the number that comes from producing genuine improvement in the lives of Jamaicans. No wonder Carlos King, founder of Jamaica EVA (Empowered Voters Association), sent information of his plan to encourage Jamaicans not to vote for a political party, but choose the best person for the job.

We have to agree with attorney-at-law Shirley Eaton that our leaders have a responsibility to ensure that those they choose as candidates are qualified under our Constitution. What kind of signal are we sending to the world when we sanction law breakers to become our law makers? May Jamaica EVA unmask the pretenders and help us to weed them out.

Jamaican people, let us to resolve to do the following:

* Choose politicians that have given us proven results in their constituencies.

* Encourage our family members and colleagues to shed political baggage and support decent politicians, regardless of party affiliation.

* Have absolutely nothing to do with a politician who consorts with criminals (we have a good idea who they are -- and they are on both sides).

I recently listened to two hard-working Jamaicans relate how they were barefacedly cheated of contracts they had bid for. One gentleman replied to a tender request and was advised that his was the lowest bid, and he was being awarded the contract. After sending abroad to buy expensive equipment for the job, he received a message that there was some problem with the tender process and the contract was being given to another company. "I subsequently saw the job done by my competitor," he said. "It was a disgrace. In fact, it is putting people's lives in danger."

It is better to appeal to our fellow electors to avoid being duped, than to hope for conscionable behaviour from our politicians. Let us examine their work to improve educational facilities in their constituencies and communities, their interest in healthcare, their support of the security forces. Watch them, Facebook and Tweet what you know for sure. This country has been kept barefoot and ignorant for too long. To paraphrase Bob Marley, let's "chase those crazy talking-heads out of town".

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