Jamaica Observer | by Jean Lowrie-Chin
THESE folks in the governing Jamaica Labour Party need a reality check. The contretemps over the general secretary position is sibling rivalry to the extreme, bickering while Mama Jamaica is lying there, broken and traumatised. Who will tell these headlinegrabbers that Jamaica needs their undivided attention? A house divided cannot unite a nation, one that needs an authoritative, compassionate hand after our devastating rains.
People are slipping and sliding on gully banks, wondering when the next part of their house will follow the parts already washed away. In Lacovia, a resident sits in her house surrounded by water, unable to travel to work in Kingston, fearing for her family's safety in the rising waters. The road near Sheffield in Westmoreland is inundated with little drainage. That parish boasts some of the island's biggest mosquitoes (the bane of my childhood), and they now have acres of breeding space.
Did you see that lady from the Salvation Army speaking on the news about the folks near Treasure Beach? She was beside herself with worry over the danger of disease outbreak, remarking on the stagnant waters. The elderly are being ferried in makeshift boats cobbled from old refrigerators and plastic drums.
So you would think someone would be able to quell the conflict between the warring siblings, so that ODPEM and the NGOs giving aid could benefit from a government fully focused on … governing. At the rate we are going, whoever wins this “gensec” race may have a pyrrhic victory.
Writing from Atlanta, Jamaican engineer Garrick Augustus is so passionate about fixing his country's infrastructure, that he has launched a Facebook page, Jamaica Renaissance to raise US$3 billion for the cause. He plans to return to Jamaica and has sent a letter to Road and Works Minister Mike Henry offering to be a part of his road repair team.
Let me not be cynical (my friend Ronnie Thwaites wondered why I was not my usual optimistic self last week), but Garrick should know that a willingness to help and a passion for country (over party) may actually disqualify him in some quarters. It is happening all over Jamaica. Mediocre and dishonest people shun excellence and good character. They do not want anyone to mash up their “dolly house” of double dealing. This is why we notice that the layers of asphalt over some of our eroded roads look like they were applied with a paintbrush! The middlemen have to collect so much, that the roads have been shortchanged.
This is why, much as we may not agree with everything they say, we have to respect the monitors of law and order in our society – the political ombudsman, public defender, electoral commissioners, contractor general, commissioner of customs, rights and environmental groups. They probably seem harsh because we have been bending the rules so drastically, that now they no bear no resemblance to their original form. What a job they have!
Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, that “men have fled to brutish beasts”. Decade after decade, generation after generation, we have watched our innocent, beautiful boy babies transformed into hardened criminals. Those who preside over this transformation are the biggest brutes of them all. Where does a gang leader get the power that makes him feel so unassailable? We have so brutalised our young men that they cannot see beyond the muzzles of their guns – they have not been given the tools to build a life, just the weapons to end it.
To our leaders both in the JLP and the PNP we say, whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, whatever sins you may have committed – today is the day you can resolve to put your suffering people first. Today is the day you will not rest until you have delivered relief and compassion to our suffering thousands. Today is the day that you can call your opposite number in your division or constituency and say, “Come! Our Jamaican people who entrusted us with their wellbeing need to see us working together to ensure that they get relief.”
Call me if you make that move today and I will give you all the PR your hearts desire. I will alert the media, beg for photo and TV coverage. I will storm the social media with the good news – that finally we have leaders who care more about their people than their own selfish ends. This column will be yours next week – and I will beg my colleague columnists to shout out your good works. Is that my phone ringing …?
READERS' RESPONSE FROM www.jamaicaobserver.com
I believe that us uniting as a people will not come from any individual it will most likely come from a sign or miracle. It has taken years of misrepresentation and lack of vision to get us where we are today so the change that we truly need will not happen overnight. The mentality of the people is a big factor; and even though politics have contributed greatly to our decline as a society, as individuals we have to accept responsibility. Great countries are built by the people not politicians.
Actually I think that the Gen. Sec. challenge in the JLP is one of the few signs of transparency and vibrant renewal to come from that orgn recently. We don't need what seems to be paternalistic milk-and-water "unity" across the political spectrum in general. We do need mutual agreement on recognising overarching problems...crime , jobs, housing, roads, energy, tourism etc and VIGOROUS debate on the best policies to confront these. One side can't be just waiting for the othe to drop.BOTH DO IT
Wharf Dawg, you are not the only one who takes note of this. The political elites and their friends seek to distract us with the process rather than the product. And why should they care when their bread is buttered on both sides? "Whited sepulchres" is the epithet that aptly describes the majority of those so-called 'leaders' who seem only able to lead us closer to the brink of total chaos.
The attitude of those who lead is disgusting; it is all about me, myself and I. With this kind of attitude how do they expect to lead 'Vision 2030'? Jamaica and Jamaicans need better than we are getting from our political leaders if we are to proceed to developed world status. However, their way of leading the vision maybe through bickering for power. Let me hope that those fighting for power and prominence will come to their senses soon.
The truth about politicians in Jamaica is, they are self-centered and egotistic. There are so many people calling for a united front to tackle the problems we are facing. Still, it seems that the politicians only aim is to sit on top of the rubble our beloved country has become. Why is it so hard for them to understand the longing many Jamaicans have to see Jamaica's full potential being realized. No party should think that they alone have the answer to our problems. Working together is unity.
What we need is Accountability and the taking of personal responsibility to achieve something meaningful . We cannot have "unity" when we have Leaders who are hell bent on aiding and abetting criminality and corruption, refuse to speak the truth, lacks integrity, credibility and is not trustworthy.
That type of "unity" is a threat to freedom !.
Who will unit Jamaicans? it start with you. Until you guys stop the bickering, they will not be any united. Simple things turn you guys against each other, and that's a damn shame.
George Watson you are spot on with your first observation this morning.
This paper on one is preaching unity yet it takes great pleasure in using its editorial cartoon to be at as divisive as possible.
I know of at least one case where a company (experts at road building) offered to repair a road and the Parish Council refused. The money should be given to them instead and they would do the work themselves.
The writer, brilliant PR practitioner as she is, should know that if tomorrow morning the PNP and the JLP should decide to unite for the benefit of JA this would be unacceptable to the media. The media thrives on controversy and as a result are the biggest dividers in this country.
She should also know that this aside, it is not in everybody’s interest to have a peaceful, thriving progressive Jamaica, even though they may proclaim it from the rooftops.