Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jamaica belongs to all of us

BY JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | 16 April 2012

The so-called Jamaican flag backdrop created by that misguided decorator for the Montego Bay mayoral swearing-in was just plain ugly. Without the green, there is no freshness, without the black, it would have had no depth and without the gold, it would have had no sparkle. No wonder our Jamaican flag, this wonderful combo of black, green and gold, was the most recognisable one in the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the Beijing Olympics. As our flag was hoisted day after day, saluting medal after medal, we Jamaicans became the toast of Beijing. We had to stop every few steps so that various spectators could take photos, holding on to our beloved flag.

So when a blinkered individual dares to tinker with our precious Black-Green-and-Gold, we are not going to take it lightly. To add insult to injury, we heard the Mayor of Port Maria admitting on CVM News that he had removed brand new green blinds from his office to replace them with a “neutral” colour. The blinds in my office are green because someone told me the colour promotes calm concentration. I wonder if said mayor will also be rewriting the 23rd Psalm to read: “He maketh me to lie down in neutral pastures.”

One of our leaders has accused the concerned public of politicising the green-omission. Say what?! It was with some relief that we heard PNP Chairman Bobby Pickersgill giving an apology and assuring us that his party would not condone disrespect of our national symbols.

To be honest, when I first heard about this outrage, I thought it was a joke: surely no one would be so backward. Surely, even if someone had been so silly, the new mayor, democratically elected to lead his fellow Jamaicans, regardless of party, should have immediately ordered the removal of that funereal backdrop. The islandwide reports are troubling: booing in Portmore, flag-desecration in Montego Bay, d├ęcor-purging in Port Maria and party-skewed messaging for the KSAC swearing-in in Kingston.

A GSAT student of civics would know that this is just plain wrong. Both of our political parties have intelligent, patriotic leaders. I will call no names – generally we know who they are. They are the same ones who suffered deep embarrassment when Norman Manley was not allowed a seat in the Royal Box of the National Stadium, the construction of which was his brainchild when his party was in power.

Clearly, there is an urgent need to educate the political fly-by-nights about the true meaning of democracy. We must no longer tolerate this loutish, threatening behaviour and the weak excuses from those who should know better. We are deeply disappointed in these leaders who parade themselves in Gordon House, don these garish gold chains and show few of the qualities that would make them deserving of the title. May we suggest a week of sackcloth and ashes for both sides of the House to show penitence for the lives destroyed, the rise of vulgarity that has spilled over into the carnal abuse of children (even babies!), the environmental degradation of our beloved country?

Our heroes have been our emancipators, every single one of them from Nanny to NW Manley and Bustamante. Our first and most widely recognised national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was a principled leader, writing and counselling his followers about education, ambition, self-esteem, discipline and dignity. The most important role of a leader is to inspire his or her followers to be decent and productive. The leaders of both our political parties have failed us miserably. Campaign after campaign, they allow the overloadng of buses for disorderly motorcades. They have so politicised their party colours that we have to think twice before donning that vibrant orange or attractive green garment.

Buju Banton sang, Another toll to the poll may God help we soul... Could go on and on and full has never been told. This is neither PNP nor JLP country – this is our Jamaica. The “full” must now be told so that mean-spirited pretenders will no longer be allowed to lord it over humble, decent Jamaicans.

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