Bite the bullet time revisited

BY William VIrtue

Thursday, January 02, 2014    

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A plan, a viable plan to return the nation to fiscal sanity, to bringing revenue and spending in line based on the Seaga prescription that the Government must spend what it earns with a percentage saved to deal with emergencies, is need now.

Having set that goal, ways to achieve this that are viable, practical and realistic must be developed in the form of an integrated, comprehensive development programme which must include making the nation self-sufficient.

Then a time period must be established during which all, without exception, must bite the bullet, with the political leadership spearheading the return to the land to produce the food Jamaicans eat.

We cannot ask the people of Jamaica to interminably endure suffering without creating a plan and set of clear policies to deal with this crisis. Based on the formula, if you bite the bullet for a set period of five or ten years, at the end of that period there will be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of real progress and hope for a significantly improved quality and quantity of life in Jamaica.

This period and treadmill of despair of economic and social decline that has precipitated destruction of the social fabric of our island nation began in 1975, and every Jamaican must be asking when and how will it end. When will the nation return to stability, physical security and economic growth and progress?

We must also get a handle on crime by dismantling the garrisons, and so sever the link between powerful politicians and the 'posses'; defusing the conflict between the security forces and the 'posses' and between the political tribes. This will create the basis for national cooperation to create a future for the nation.

What is lacking is not appreciation of what needs to be done, but the will to do it and this can only be galvanised by a moral revival, by a recommitment to the common good as against the intense completion of sectarian and individual interests.

Sound economic principles -- that facilitate he dire need for Jamaica to be perceived to be a location where factors of production receive the maximum reward for their input by creating open-ended systems of reward for all producers -- are needed to harness the maximum efforts of all producers to ignite the creativity of labour and harness the energies of every Jamaican to the national plow.

In the secondary schools cultivation of food should be a priority. Across the economy production and productivity must be the priorities second only to national consolidation. And reducing conflict by the measures outlined will go a far way to creating productivity.

I call again for a government of national unity to create renewed national consolidation based on merit and commitment to the welfare of the nation. This may be aided by the suspension of competition for political power in the national interest while on the treadmill. When we return to fiscal sanity, the nation will again be able to afford the luxury of corrupt political hacks and animals.

A government of merit composed of people like Douglas Orane and Dr Hume Johnson, who have the knowledge, talent and integrity to manage the economic revival.

I speak as the change agent who managed a 400 per cent increase in productivity achieved by a group of stevedores, the majority of whom were illiterate and semi-illiterate; and a group which contained front-line warriors from both political tribes. They, galvanised by my example, cooperated to achieve this production miracle as a conflict bordering on civil war raged in the greater society.

The real issue is how long will the nation continue to flee reality and revel in irrationality as against following the sound practical advice I have consistently provided, including a call to bite the bullet years ago from this very forum?

It is time for the application of morality, merit, scrupulous honesty, management ability, and intelligence to inform our efforts to contend with this crisis.

William Edwin VIrtue resides in Pompano Beach, Florida.





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