AS we close 2012, it is normal to reflect on our actions and inactions for the year. Jamaica has faced a tough 2012; some of the problems were self-inflicted and others natural.
The citizens soldier on and make do with what exists, all the while hoping for positive change, calling radio shows to complain and looking to politicians to implement policies that will not be overturned when the other party inevitably comes to power at some point in the future.
Let us admit that many of us have made a number of decisions based solely on the short-term outcomes we expected, barely considering the long-term ramifications. It is unfortunately part of being human: we make mistakes. Learning from those mistakes, however, is what allows one to grow as a person and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
It is even better to learn from the mistakes and successes of others, something I constantly advocate by writing about actions in other countries that share some similarity to Jamaica or a problem Jamaica faces.
In many countries, 2013 will definitely not be a repeat of 2012. One recurring theme globally has been "uncertainty", a word Jamaicans have also been using repeatedly. Many politicians around the world will rethink some of their approaches because they kept, and in some cases are still keeping, citizens uncertain about the immediate future even if they are able to paint a vision for where the country will eventually go.
Jamaican politicians must do their share of analysis and move away from the way things have been done in the recent past. No country can grow without a sense of direction being felt by the people, without a belief in where things are heading.
The painting of doomsday scenarios in 2013 is not helpful either. Yes, the naysayers can point to another approach to the IMF, the decline of the Net International Reserves, the continued devaluation of the dollar and so forth, but that does not mean that things cannot turn around.
The global economy is on a better footing today. The USA, one of our largest trading partners and source of foreign currency, is seeing real growth. Europe has finally allotted more money to Greece, and oil prices have not been running wild.
Now is the time for Jamaicans, including political leaders, to really put the long-term interests of the country at the forefront. Vision 2030 exists as a written document but not as an actual vision people have bought into and are willing to work towards as a country.
Individual projects exist that can help change Jamaica in a dramatic way, but they are getting little support because that support has not been sought or partisan politics is playing a role. Let us finally admit that both sides have some good ideas, some even the same, and focusing on those first will get us heading in the right direction. Bipartisanship is needed in Jamaica to overcome the rough patch.
It would be great to see political leaders on both sides of the aisle finally put the long-term interests of the country ahead of partisan point-scoring and funnelling spoils to the preferred few. It would be ideal to see us focus far more on children, since they are the future. We need to increase funding for early childhood education; we must improve the way we treat children in State care and we must avoid abusing children when we attempt to discipline them.
No longer would it be acceptable to rack up long-term debt for unclear gains, especially while those in charge now will not be around to deal with the consequences. Actions must factor in how your children and their children will be affected.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and please remember those less fortunate than you at this time. Let us make 2013 truly the start of a new era for Jamaica and the wider world.
David Mullings was the first Future Leaders representative for the USA on the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board. He can be found at facebook.com/InteractiveDialogue and Twitter.com/davidmullings