Jamaica needs more 'INDECOMs'

Jean LOWRIE-CHIN

Monday, September 15, 2014

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I look at every commissioner of police with so much sympathy. Past scenarios have rumours swirling and, before you know it, 'Commish' falls from someone's good graces and the taps begin to sound. We do hope that Commissioner Carl Williams will be able to weather the many storms he must face in his rigorous new post.


It is a fact that there are some terrible rogues in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, but Jamaica should know that those are in the minority. Most of our police officers are dedicated, hard-working Jamaicans, some of the most courageous and disciplined you would meet anywhere in the world.


This is why we must never read or listen to the news in a vacuum. This is why we should ask probing questions like... why is it that there is an 'INDECOM' for wayward cops and no similar organisation for wayward politicians? Why is it that a semi-literate can build a shack, put a cross on it, put on a pastor's collar, and dupe poor people into buying him/her house and car while they walk miles to church? Where is the church's version of INDECOM? Why do teachers continue to resist any form of performance assessment, while police officers must look sharply at Force Orders and are closely scrutinised before each promotion? Who reviews these top-heavy governemnt agencies and the public boards of directors who attend retreats at posh resorts? -- the tab being picked up by struggling taxpayers who are treated with scant regard by the very organisations these boards are supposed to lead.


So, with only so many column inches and hours of news, it suits many that Jamaica has an official beating stick -- the criticised, vilified police force. Worse yet, we have heard from several respected, retired officers how they have suffered from the machinations of corrupt fellow officers, manipulated by even more corrupt politicians. One such distinguished gentleman related how he was accused of visiting the house of a top politician in an opposing party when he did not even know where that person lived. Before he knew it, he was virtually ostracised by the very organisation which he had served with distinction all his life.


Now, if we really want a Jamaica where "justice, truth be ours forever", how can we continue to be so sheep-like in our public opinion? Every study shows the terrible burden of crime and corruption on a country's economy. On almost every newscast we see the sub-human conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans live. This, in a country with 63 members of parliament, 216 parish councillors and a hefty Cabinet of 20. They preside over ministries and councils that are to ensure that this tiny little rock can be well run. Where is the 'INDECOM' to ask why citizens must have sewage running through their streets and mountains of uncollected garbage? Whom can a poor taxi man turn to when potholes send him to the garage to replace expensive parts almost on a monthly basis?


If you read Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, David and Goliath, you will understand why we can do nothing efficiently under this top-heavy system. That well-aimed slingshot by a smart and courageous shepherd boy brought down a giant made slow and foolish by his heavy armour. We need the courage and smarts of a David to fight this persistent poverty of our people. Interestingly, I see some promising 'Davids', male and female, joining both the PNP and JLP. Let them not be drawn into this 'conspiracy of mediocrity' that is holding us back. I have coined the phrase conspiracy of mediocrity with good reason, and very soon, it will be the subject of a book by a wonderful Jamaican thinker.


Yes, we are glad there is an INDECOM to help keep our police officers honest, but let us not believe that this alone will address the injustice that enslaves our people. We wish Police Commissioner Williams a successful tour of duty and all other leaders the courage to step up, so they can withstand the level of scrutiny to which Mr Williams will be subjecting himself.


Chikungunya prevention


We are not going to take sides in this chikungunya argument between Government and Opposition over the number of Jamaicans now suffering from this painful mosquito-borne disease. It is interesting to note, though, that so many well-appointed homes do not have mosquito screens. At our house, we have devised a way of covering door grilles by tying meshed wooden frames on the grills, ensuring that they are snug against the door jamb. What is the sense of all that décor and landscaping if you don't mosquito-proof your home? Strong electric fans are great to keep the pests away, but if you don't have mosquito screens, power cuts can be a nightmare.


We also keep small bottles of repellant in handbags, larger bottles in the car. Of course, the warnings from the Health Ministry have to be taken seriously: Ensure you check your yard and rid yourself of mosquito-breeding sites. If you are diagnosed with chikungunya, remember you should not take aspirin or ibuprofen; use acetaminophen, which is sold under the brand names Panadol, Cetamol or Tylenol. Always consult your doctor for expert advice.


Congrats, Courtney Walsh and Ali McNab


Ali McNab and Ambassador Courtney Walsh were recently honoured with lifetime achievement awards at the 16th Annual NY Celebrity Soccer Match in New Rochelle, New York. Both men were recognised for their sporting achievements as well as their contribution to national life. Ali McNab, as broadcaster and coach; and Ambassador Walsh in sports administration and entrepreneurship. Here again, we see members of the Jamaican Diaspora celebrating their own. We can hardly imagine the love and generosity our Jamaican sisters and brothers abroad have for their country. They are 'born-ya' and still 'on-ya' in their hearts. Bless them!


Trisha Williams-Singh's water-tank challenge


Trisha Williams-Singh was inspired by the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge to challenge her colleagues at Digicel and elsewhere to take up a Schools Water Tank Push-up Challenge. Here is how it works: If you take up the challenge of doing 10 push-ups, you donate $500 to the water tank account. If you don't make the 10, you donate $1,000. Happy to say our PROComm team, including Hubie, stepped up to the challenge as witnessed on Instagram. Please take up Trisha's challenge and donate to this worthy cause at Water Tanks for Schools in Ja -- National Commercial Bank, Matilda's Corner, 15 Northside Drive, Northside Plaza, Kingston 6, Account # 37-1088881. If want to donate from overseas the bank's Swift Code is JNCBJMKX.


Healthy break for seniors


Our seniors organisation, CCRP Jamaica, will be collaborating with Sagicor to offer a group major medical plan for individuals aged 50 and over. If you are a senior, or you are responsible for the medical bills of a senior, you should try to attend the presentation of this plan at the Sagicor auditorium in New Kingston tomorrow, Tuesday, September 16, at 5:30 pm. This is a first for Jamaica, and it has not come a moment too soon.




lowriechin@aim.com


www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com



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