Politicians and life

Politicians and life

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The publication of the 2017 Survey of Living Conditions in Jamaica, which showed that poverty has increased among households is an abominable indictment on those Members of Parliament who have been serving for more than two and a half terms.

I use those Members of Parliament as a reference point and as the main culprits because over that period of time they should have made meaningful interventions to halt the poverty slide among their constituents. The survey is quite revealing and points to the fact that poverty has been increasing at a faster rate in towns and cities than in rural townships. In fact, what the survey further revealed is that the people are hoping for prosperity while dying in poverty.

When survey figures are carefully extrapolated and analysed, several constituencies have serious indices of poverty that have to be addressed with the utmost urgency. In these constituencies there have been frightening decline in the amount of goods consumed, such as food, clothing, housing, health care, transportation, and education.

Another glaring revelation in the survey is that people who are beneficiaries under the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education never seem to 'graduate' from the programme, but see it as a lifelong opportunity. It is rather interesting to note that some of the constituencies referenced are represented by government ministers, and this is so for over many years.

Long before the survey was published, social and mainstream media have been highlighting the terrible state of the living conditions of some individuals across constituencies. The question now is which of those Members of Parliament will use the data in the survey to make meaningful interventions in their constituencies.

If I was a betting man, I would not bet on one of them. They are too busy protecting their own status quo, rather than peeping through the AC-frosted windows of their sport utility vehicles to see the living conditions of their constituents.

The minister of national security said recently that social intervention in communities has not worked, and I beg to differ. It is not that it by itself has not worked, but it is the politics in the social intervention processes that have not worked. They must stop bypassing those who need it most for those whose vote they need most.

Fernandez Smith Former Jamaica Labour Party councillorfgeesmith@yahoo.com

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