And now we welcome the new year… Full of things that have never been

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

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René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, who is described as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets, and accredited with the above sentiment, was not merely indulging in well-wishing.

Of course, the new year comes riding on the foundation of the past year and the ages past, but what the novelist is suggesting is akin to what Melody Beattie surmises: “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

The year 2019 is full of things that have never been, providing us the unprecedented opportunity to write new scripts for our lives and to set goals, individually and collectively as a nation, still and always aspiring for a better tomorrow.

Jamaica, during last year — and this could be said of any other year — was a mixed bag of successes and failures. If one is an unthinking supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), there were more successes; and of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), there were more failures.

Yet, there are things that all of us have a vested interest in seeing — we share a common desire to see our beloved country flourish. For with that we all stand to benefit; political party supporter or not.

We in this space obsess over the need to see crime taken out of the partisan political arena, where it can get the unified treatment as a national scourge against which the full creativity and will of our people can be unleashed.

Alas! Because politicians will always be politicians — some seeking score from the good points, some keeping score of the bad points — they never see the problem as one that has deprived Jamaica of so much progress and prosperity.

We share the yearning of our young nation for better roads, water supply, health care, especially for the most deprived among us, and universal education as soon as resources become available.

At the same time, our fledgling nation is giving thanks for the many legacy projects in infrastructure which have spanned administrations: The completion of Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, and Portia Simpson Miller Square will definitely be game- changers.

Government must not lose faith in its effort to put more money in people's pockets, perhaps through tax reform — replacing direct taxation with indirect taxation that catches more tax dodgers and eases the pressure on the long-suffering Pay As You Earn (PAYE) people.

Leadership must be provided at all levels to grab hold of the rampant indiscipline that is nothing less than a cancer on the nation, and especially obvious on our streets that are daily war zones of lawlessness.

We invite our fellow citizens to regard the Jamaica Observer as a national suggestion box for your ideas on how to take our country forward in 2019. We know that of this we have no shortage.

And, while doing so, we thank our loyal readers, advertisers and sponsors who have made it possible to survive another challenging year, achieve our 25th anniversary, and allow us to enrich our Jamaican democracy through these pages of enlightenment.

To all of you, a happy and prosperous new year!

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