Jamaica Could Be Experiencing Double-digit Growth If She Dealt Decisively With Crime.…

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..

Michael Manley

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 façade.

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.
http://​jamaica​-glean​er​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​c​o​m​m​e​n​t​a​r​y​/​2​0​1​9​0​3​1​8​/​e​d​i​t​o​r​i​a​l​-​g​r​o​w​t​h​-​a​n​d​-​2​019 – 20-bud­get

Andrew Holness PM

(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.