Monday, August 5, 2013

It’s you we’re talking to!

by Jean Lowrie-Chin |Jamaica Observer column for 5 August 2013

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller (right) and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Andrew Holness (left), lead Members of Parliament inside the Chamber of Gordon House for the swearing-in ceremony, January 17 2012. The 63 newly elected Members of Parliament and 20 Senators were sworn in during the new session of Parliament at Gordon House. – JIS Photo

 Yes you, our political representatives – it’s you we’re talking to this Independence week!  You offered yourselves for election to Parliament and Parish Councils.  You took oaths to serve your country with the highest standards of ethics.  Collectively, you are 63 Members of Parliament, 216 Parish Councillors and a bulging Cabinet – aren’t you concerned that the population you swore to serve is suffering collective grief from crime, violence and economic hardship? 
“It's you - it's you - it's you I'm talkin' to
…. Would you let the system make you kill your brother-man?
No, Dread, no!” – Bob Marley
We don’t have to tell any of our leaders about their past.  You know who you are, you have your secrets. So here is what we the people want to tell you.  The Truth Commission may never happen here, but we want you to have a very frank conversation with your God.  You go to many Church services, do many Bible readings, sing many hymns.
Michelle Knight, one of the women abducted and chained for 11 years by that monster Ariel Castro in Ohio, USA, told him at his sentencing, that he was “hypocritically going to church every Sunday and returning home to torture us afterwards”. Of our leaders, we ask, “Are you doing an Ariel Castro on Jamaica?”  This Independence, Jamaicans may be forcing a few smiles but we are in pain. 

President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Christopher Zacca (left); President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions Lloyd Goodleigh (second right); Youth Advocate, Jamaica Youth Advocacy Group, Kemesha Kelly, representing civil society groups, are joined by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding as they display copies of the agreement during yesterday’s signing ceremony at King’s House in Kingston. (Jamaica Observer photo: BRYAN CUMMINGS)
On the eve of Emancipation Day last week, Government, private sector, labour and civil society interests signed the long-discussed “Partnership for Jamaica”, which has evolved from the “Partnership for Progress” and the “Partnership for Development”.  While agreeing with ‘the spirit of the agreement’, the opposition JLP did not sign. Now comes the hard part – who will put aside the selfish interests of their respective parties and sectors to focus on one goal: Jamaica’s well-being? 
It’s you I’m talking to dear signatories.  You can return to your offices and places of business and continue as usual, playing those cynical games that have hijacked our progress.  Or you can pull out that declaration of partnership, study it and seriously commit to working for positive results.  By ‘work’ we mean not those interminable meetings, but a timetable of action, shared with the media who can help us to ensure that all those beautiful words announced in the hallowed halls of Kings House will alleviate the unspeakable misery of Jamaica’s poor.
Janet Silvera
Journalist Janet Silvera - Gleaner photo
Ordinary, humble Jamaicans are so distressed at the condition of the poor that they are stretching their limited resources to reach out to others.  Two weeks ago, after hearing that there were several university students who could not get their results because of outstanding fees, Montego Bay-based journalist Janet Silvera decided to turn her birthday into a fundraiser.  It wasn’t easy – she decided to have a jumble sale, promoting it via social media.  In the end, with assistance from corporate friends she was able to raise $600,000. 
Gary Morrison (left), Warehouse Associate, Food For The Poor, presents a food package a resident of Torrington District, Westmoreland. Sharing in the occasion are: Debbie-Ann Gordon Crawford (right –background), FFP Board Director; and David Shoucair, Director of Distribution and Logistics, FFP. They were at the Torrington Wesleyan Holiness Church in Westmoreland on July 19, where FFP hosted a Health and Information Fair for economically challenged persons.
Bright young attorney Debbie-Ann Gordon Crawford may have set up business in Kingston, but she has not forgotten her home parish of Westmoreland where she spearheaded a Health and Information Fair about a week ago at Torrington, with the assistance of Food for the Poor.  Hundreds of elderly and ailing folks were able to get medical checks and supplies of staples as they streamed in for help. 
If these folks are doing this without benefit of the public purse, and access to a Constituency Development Fund, how much more could our political representatives achieve with their clout? Let us use this 51st Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence and ‘talk big woman and big man t’ings’. Please examine yourself leaders and make yourself right with the Almighty.  Then let us see the light you promised to shine when you swore to lead ‘so help you God’.

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