Thursday, November 17, 2011

It is election time again In Jamaica

A time when it becomes almost impossible to reason with the Jamaican people, when logic no longer exist, election is like a fever that affects the brains of the people, turning them into political zombies, with one intention, to eliminate and consume their political opponent. Like boxers they retreat to the opposing corners while eyeballing their opponent, smacking their gloves together, waiting for the bell to engage and rain punishment down on them in the name of the party. During the Election period the Jamaican people only eat, sleep and think in two colours, Green and Orange they care nothing about the country just the party, for the glory of the party, as if they benefit when any of these parties are in power.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and he started talking about Bruce Golding’s Legacy and I remembered an article I wrote in 2006 when the Jamaican media was going crazy about the Legacy of former Prime Minister PJ Patterson. Nero needs to take lessons from the Jamaican people on how to fiddle while everything around them burns.

Update: Dec 27 2011
I have just been told by a friend of mine that there is a lot of money to be made during this election time he said some people he knows have been exploiting the fact that both the JLP and the PNP will pay as much as J$5000 per head for people to join their party bus. He said these boys have been trying to join as much motorcade as possible, one minute riding the JLP bus the next ride the PNP bus and if possible they will ride both the JLP and PNP bus in the same day, their only requirement is that they change shirts well before reaching the motorcade.
What About the People's Legacy: Written in 2006
The “Prime Ministers Legacy” what nonsense! What about Jamaica’s Legacy? I have been trying to ignore the debate regarding the Prime Minister’s legacy because to go on and on about it is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. I think this Prime Minister and this Government has been a failure just like the other Prime Ministers and Government before. Our problems existed long before this Prime Minister and at the rate we are going, living our lives with blinkers on, it seems it will exist long after. 

The political Parties style of government, style of management and practice of politics is outdated and has no place in Jamaica today. For Jamaica to progress this will have to change and the power to make this change rest with the people and only with the people, by holding the Government accountable and demanding real, fundamental changes. The Prime Minister however is not the only failure the people of Jamaica are the biggest failures, when we go to the polls to elect a Government, what goes through our minds, what are our expectations?  Or do we go through this five year ritual hoping that our newly elected, “home grown colonial master” will deliver free of charge all our expectations with minimal input from the general public. In theory we elect a government to make better our society, economy and to increase our standard of living. In practice we elect a Government and must force them to make better our society, economy and to increase our standard of living. Electing is just one part of the job people involvement is the other most important part and that’s the part that is missing from Jamaican society.

What mechanism, do we have in place to ensure that our elected officials deliver what we expect from them and what actions can we take to make sure they deliver on their promises? Waiting for an election every 5 years is just not enough; we need a short term mechanism in place to legally force the government to address our concerns. We cannot depend on the opposing political party to be our advocates they do not have our interest at heart, this has been proven time and time again, they are nothing but another Government in waiting, more of the same. We have been down this path before, opposition becomes Government and Government becomes opposition and the cycle continues with no real end in sight while the people follow along like a hamster on a wheel. The public needs to organize into their own advocacy groups to create a new political, social and economic awareness, these groups need to detach themselves from the political parties and serve the public, the interest of Jamaicans and for the betterment of Jamaica. The general public needs to stand behind these groups thus removing the politicians influence over them and the public Advocacy Groups needs to demand fundamental changes to our society, by any means necessary. Just forget the trade unions they are just another wing of the political parties, from which the parties got their start, they are more of the same and just as guilty.

What is missing from Jamaica today is the real influence of the educated middle class and upper class to some extent, the latter is normally too comfortable to care about others. Throughout our history especially during the early part of the 19th century it was the educated people who organized the masses and channeled their anger to bring about much needed social and economic change, from workers rights to universal adult suffrage and independence. Our educated middle/upper classes today are too comfortable, too self centered and narrow minded to care about his fellow man or about his country, they exist with one foot in Jamaica and the other in Miami and can only see as far as their own front gate and their way to the airport.

Gone are the days of real Leaders, Patriots and Nationalists, the days when leaders would assume the responsibility, when leaders would give their lives rather than compromise on their principles, when the needs of the many far out-weighed the needs of the few and leaders would risk life and limb to ensure that the needs of the population was satisfied.

Jamaica will continue to achieve very little in terms of increase economic activity and the standard of living unless Jamaicans realizes that the real key to success lies within Jamaica. The process of turning inwards and adding value to our homeland requires a certain amount of discipline that the Jamaican people currently lacks but over time we can teach the future generation of Jamaicans how to tap into this discipline. For generations we have been telling ourselves that everything Jamaican is no good and everything imported is so much better, this perception is a recipe for disaster. We need to realize that first world countries do not have Jamaica’s interest at heart and they will never treat us fairly, for the most part they see us as an annoyance. We need to change our relationship with the rest of the world but we will never achieve a more balance relationship if we ourselves sees no value in Jamaica, we need to first respect ourselves if we want others to respect us. Our very existence is based on dependence in a world we have no control over and we continue to turn our backs on Jamaica, the one thing we own.

We sit around trying to devise a plan to make inroads into the markets of first world countries, this is a futile attempt, the system was not design for 3rd world countries to be sellers in the market place of first world countries, it was designed for us to be buyers, borrowers and providers of cheap labour, unless by selling we mean the selling of our resources to so called investors. We sit around for years trying to come up with something to sell, this Big Mystery Product that everyone in the world will want and while we plan and plot we continue to be perfect little buyers, even with borrowed money. Our problem lies with what we consider to be a good standard of living, which is self centered and materialist in nature, where profiling is everything, our desire to show others that we can afford certain material goods that are almost always imported, whether or not we can truly afford them and our ability to only focus on our wants will be our downfall, our priorities are wrong and we need to focus more on solid development as oppose to perceived development, “If you paint an old broken down building it will only be an old broken down building with a new coat of paint”.

Jamaica's trade deficit continues to widen (RJR): (Sat. Oct. 1st 2005)
New data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, show that between January and June, the trade deficit grew by 336 million US dollars to one-point-four billion US dollars. During the first half of the year, Jamaicans spent two-point-one billion US dollars on imports nearly three times the 724 million US dollars earned from exports. The figures show imports increased by 18 percent while exports declined by five percent.

Rising imports and falling exports will lead to increase unemployment, as we turn our backs on everything Jamaican we are doing an injustice to our economy and our society. How do you expect to be gainfully employed when no one supports the local companies who provide the jobs? How can locally manufactured goods get cheaper if there is no demand to cover cost?  Is Jamaica being run according to people’s expectations, are the people not concern about providing education to our young people, are the people not concern about crime and proper health care? It seems that so long as there is entertainment and imports the people are happy, so contented with being thrown a bone.

Having a mass riot every 4 or 5 years making general demands just don’t work, this is the third such riot and we are no better for it. I believe in people power and people involvement in government, every step of the way. I believe the people should hold their government accountable for their actions but that must be done in a sensible and systematic way, not a once in a while destruction of life and property. If the people of Jamaica can spend so much money on imports while schools rot, kids go uneducated and crime runs rampant then we are all failures and that will be our Legacy.

Is this the best we can do? Is this the best we want to do? I refuse to be drawn into a debate as to who can run this country and who cannot. Both the JLP and the PNP have had their chances, both of these parties were the Government at one time or another and we are no better for it. So we the people must be doing something wrong, the buck stops with us. Do we want education for our kids or SUVs, do we want proper light, water, health care, Jobs, housing or profile with imports, supporting other peoples economy at the expense of our own. The Government is a product of the people, the people seems to be simple minded and so are the Government. The JLP and PNP cannot help you, not by themselves, we expect failure from them and failure is exactly what we get, it is the people of Jamaica that is the problem with this country, so instead of worrying about the Prime Minister’s legacy maybe we should worry about our own, the people’s legacy because after the Prime Minister is done and gone we will still be suffering.

If these three political parties with their recycled politicians are the only choices we have then, “dog nawm wi suppa”.  In the end voting seems to be a waste of time since we are just swapping “Black dog fi monkey”.  I can understand voting to make positive changes, for economic and social development. I cannot understand voting for NO change and empty promises.

Life between elections is like a distortion of the space/time continuum, a Temporal loop,  “ground hog day” if you will, we are all trapped in time, having to relive the same election-to-election events. I cannot listen to or watch these clowns perform their circus acts anymore, I have no patience for it.

Wanted! Good, Honest Patriotic, Nationalistic Jamaicans to perform a complete overhaul of the Jamaican Economy and Society. We need a real Government, a Government that will identify each and every problem and try to implement solutions without trying to please the few (Family & Friends). We want a Government that can make life better for each and every Jamaican, a Government with vision and imagination to take this country proudly into the 21st Century. A Government who can create the type of infrastructure needed for growth, a Government that can be held accountable, not one that operates above the law. We need a people who can stand up and engage the political class to demand these things, nation building this country requires each and every one of us Jamaicans, to stand up with one voice and secure a future for each and every Jamaican.

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