We Jamaicans have always been known to be unconstrained by rules, boundaries or laws. We are wild and crazy people, who will push the boundaries of acceptability, until the rope line flings us backward.
It is that kind of wild abandon which makes us unconcerned about obeying laws and rules while simultaneously demanding peace and tranquility within the same space in which we created the disquiet and mayhem.
We demand that the police deal decisively with the issue of crime while we protest when they arrest the criminals. We expect the trappings and comforts of modern first-world societies, yet we are reluctant to deal with the inconveniences which must precede the laying of the modern infrastructure we crave.
It seems to me that we are in a dilemma about what it takes to bring Jamaica to the stage we all want her to be because we are a microwave people who must have what we want now and without any delay. That is the quagmire in which we find ourselves, as we seemingly are unaware of what it takes to build the kind of society we demand.
At the center of this quagmire are some political leaders whom I must conclude, knows what it takes to build our society the right way, but are more concerned with electability than speaking the truth to their constituents.
I do understand that dilemma, we are an opinionated people who will not allow facts or rational reasoning to get in the way of our emotions and preconceived perceptions.
Then there are others I think, like the PNP’s Damion Crawford who is smart, intelligent and is unafraid to tell it like it is.
That may explain why Crawford is finding it difficult to acquire or hold on to a seat in the lower chamber in Gordon House.
The majority of the people are still unprepared and unwilling to hear intelligent truth so they hold onto misplaced fantastical myths.
The question I continue to ask of the Jamaican people is this, ” how do we attain a society built on the rule of law, if the lawmakers are themselves, criminals’?
How do we build a society where everyone is able to live out their lives in security and peace if we are unwilling to submit to the laws of the country?
How do we compete in the world if we continue to create a [pretentious system] which is soft on criminals, while we demand an end to crime?
The simple answer is that we cannot. We have to make the hard choices that we do not want the level of criminality that presently exist in our country and at the same time, we must be prepared to accept that removing all of that garbage will not be pleasant to look at.
If we fail to make the hard choices we are merely delaying the inevitable. Given enough time we will not have the ability to turn back from this precipice we are heading toward.
After the second world war, the Russians built out and expanded Communism all across Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and even in satellites as close to us as Cuba and across Latin America. Jamaica may have been saved the destructive clutches of Communism by the late Edward Seaga, who pushed back against Michael Manley’s determined flirtations with authoritarianism and his desires to see Jamaica become a satellite of the then Soviet Union.
Today many Jamaicans are fixated with the notion of the CIA’s interference in our country, but they are blissfully unaware of what was about to beset our country, had Michael Manley had his way in turning Jamaica into a proxy of the Soviet Union.
Sure, the CIA’s interfered in our affairs, but the actions of the Americans were directly attributable to ensuring that the Soviet Union did not gain another foothold in their backyard, they were already in Cuba and Nicaragua, etc..
Manley was determined to tether our country to a failing 20th-century military power. One which was operating on an unsustainable 19th-century economic model.
States of the former Soviet Union like Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, etc, were barely eking out a living through subsistence farming, done largely through the use of horse and ox-drawn plows. Yet the proceeds of their efforts had to go Russia, the center of the Empire to fund Russian militaristic exploits across the globe. In the end, the Soviet Empire crumbled because it was a mammoth iron beast with feet made out of clay.
The Soviet empire collapsed because it ran out of money, plain and simple. Hungry, angry, broke and disillusioned many of the former satellites of the Soviet Union hated the Russians.
They themselves wanted out of the Soviet vice and could not wait to break away and align themselves to the west as soon as the cracks became evident in the communist facade.
In the same way, the Soviet empire crumbled because it could not sustain itself, Jamaica, an Island which begged to become a satellite of that sinking ship, cannot build a prosperous society unless it faces up to the reality that the corruption in the society is a major hindrance to full growth and development let alone prosperity.
Sure the present administration has made some positive economic moves which have borne positive results. The results of which are evident in the growth indices. Nevertheless, those numbers are nowhere near where they need to be for anyone to begin celebrating.
In a March 18th, 2019, Editorial theDaily Gleaner said the following.
Despite minister of finance Nigel Clarke’s valiant attempt at playing up the growth numbers for last year during his Budget presentation, the reality is that the hope for an acceleration of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the Jamaican economy has not occurred. The much-heralded Growth Council does not appear likely to realize its ‘5 in 4’ growth target. The last time the Jamaican economy grew anywhere near to three percent per annum was over a decade ago. The Jamaican economy seems stubbornly locked into a low growth equilibrium path, averaging only about one percent per annum over the last 30 years. Over the same period, the Chinese economy, for example, has had double-digit annual GDP growth rates, resulting in the complete transformation of the economy and society. For Jamaica to achieve the much sought-after transformation, it must grow for a sustained period at an annual rate of at least five percent per annum. Growth has eluded the country, despite tremendous efforts at reforms. Much more needs to be done to achieve faster growth.
(1) That [much more] entails, relaxing the massive bureaucratic burdensome restrictions which discourages people from starting new businesses. As a result, they resort to the underground economy which is thriving and growing.
(2) Eliminating corruption from public bodies engenders trust and gives potential investors and entrepreneurs the confidence they need to invest, thereby expanding the formal economy.
(3) Most consequential, is the need to arrest the freedom of the murderous gangs which have all but taken over the Island, and are operating with near impunity.
Without a doubt, the lethargic growth rate that has plagued the Island, is directly attributable to the fear investors, diaspora- residents and others feel of being murdered.
The freedom of criminals to summarily murder whomever they will and get away with it, stems directly from the lack of testicular fortitude coming from the leadership on what to do to the murderers.
Instead of ensuring that there is no safe haven for murderers in our country, the Island’s political leaders have created and maintained a false narrative that stridently and decisively enforcing the nation’s laws is the same as abusing the rights of citizens.
This nonsense has given immense cover to those who would engage in, harbor, and support criminal behavior.
And so like the Soviets the Jamaican people are being conned into a sense that prosperity is just around the corner. The prosperity which they will never see with the present conditions even if they manage to stay alive.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police corporal, business owner, avid researcher, and blogger. He is also a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com. You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge.