Brace for tough times

Jean Lowrie-Chin

Monday, September 17, 2012    

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Those of us who are assiduously trying to keep our businesses going, so that our employees are secure in their jobs, have little time for the political kass-kass between the former and current ministers of finance. We knew long ago that our tiny country could not withstand the global economic fallout and like many savvy businesspersons, this and the previous government should have been in emergency mode, ensuring that we were growing more food and creating a more productive and employable workforce.

Having run a business for over three decades, let me share some of the guidelines that have kept us going:

*Ensure good governance, especially in financial management - seek advice from expert, independent thinkers.

*Give excellent service and get feedback to sharpen your offerings.

*Make the welfare of your team a priority - they are the heartbeat of your company.

*Be a learning organisation, especially in IT.

*Promote productivity through prompt communication and strict timelines.

*Promote positivity, respect and accountability in the conduct of your business.

*Setbacks must be expected - learn from them and move on.

We have also identified the qualities which we believe make great employees - if you are seeking a job, cultivate these to make yourself employable:

*Professionalism. Be punctual, organised, productive and accountable.

*Good manners. Your background is no excuse - Google and learn.

*Enthusiasm. If you think your job is a pain, you won't last in it.

*Team spirit. Be supportive of fellow team members - resist gossip and cliques.

*Altruism - a higher cause makes you stronger.

*Ambition - strive for excellence and expand your horizons.

We need to counsel our young people who are now seeking employment to get into a productive mode. Whether or not they have a job, they should get out of bed, get dressed and get going - to a paid or voluntary assignment. In the US, highly qualified folks do weekend carpentry and landscaping to earn extra bucks. Let's encourage young people to explore all opportunities instead of being too "precious" for certain jobs.

Is the world gone mad?

"What's the matter with the world, is the world gone mad?" sang Lou Rawls several decades ago. We are shocked and distressed to hear that rioters descended on the US Embassy in Libya and murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

Some say it was a protest against an offensive film about the prophet Muhammed, which ignited the anger of Muslims in Libya, Cairo and other Middle Eastern states. While we must not condone any form of religious disrespect as shown in the offensive production, I cannot fathom the mindset that would make people feel justified to burn and kill. Others believe this was a deliberate cold-hearted plan to mark 9/11, as expressed in a CNN report by Christiane Amanpour.

Senator John McCain gave a moving tribute to his friend, the late ambassador: "Chris Stevens is one of the finest people I've ever known in my life. He loved the Libyan people. They loved him. He and I were down there on election night and people were saying, 'Thank you, America.'... I guarantee you the one thing Chris Stevens did not want is for us to abandon Libya."

We have to respect the dignity of the people of the United States in their observation of the 9/11 attacks and their response to this latest assault.

Jamaica's security challenge

Here in Jamaica, we are also facing our own security challenges as small gangs have cropped up, tripling the number identified last year by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. It is common knowledge that some politicians have had alliances with gangs. We dearly hope that this is not the reason why anti-gang legislation has not yet been passed in the House of Parliament. As our outstanding Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington disclosed in an interview with Cliff Hughes on Impact, there is no law on our books that makes gang membership a crime.

This week, we are being reminded to register if we are not yet on the voters' list, in time for the next update. We wonder how many voters understand that when they mark that "X" beside a candidate's name, it is a vote of confidence that these representatives will ensure that the laws of the land protect its citizens. Our lawmakers should be moving quickly on anti-gang legislation, embracing a new kind of politics where their constituents are empowered, not cowering under the guns of these jumped-up gangs.

As we study the responses of his political colleagues to Mr Damion Crawford's 3-2-1 plan for education in his constituency, we are bewildered. When we wrote in June about Mr Crawford's new approach for his constituency, we figured that his party would be holding him up as a role model and using his system in all the constituencies they have won, to bring sustainable development to their communities. Is it that the patience needed to educate our children is superseded by an impatience for power?

Welcome home, Olympians and Paralympians

It was wonderful to see the fresh faces of our outstanding Olympians and Paralympians as they returned from overseas last week. Special congratulations our only Paralympic gold medallist Alphanso Cunningham, team captain Tanto Campbell and Sylvia Grant who made it to the finals.





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