Letters to the Editor

Let's stop kidding ourselves

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I would be hard-pressed to identify a vision more wonderfully captured than Jamaica's National Development Plan — Vision 2030. It captures a vision which, as a people, we have taken very few steps to attain. Sadly, however, I fear it will remain just a beautifully written document.

We embrace lawlessness; yes, we do. We kid ourselves that we want crime and lawlessness to end, while we continue to embrace the lowest standards for ourselves and, by extension, our leaders.

Officers of the law openly ignore breaches and leave the public to fend for themselves. As you traverse our roadways, drivers and pedestrians flout the rules of the road. As you enter your home, or brave the outside for an evening of entertainment, you fear the worse. As you undertake your professional duties one must regularly choose to play along, ignore, join, or run from the regular instances of corruption. And with all the struggles, you are faced with law officers who, instead of showing that breaches of the law are a personal affront to them, flout the law and issue safety tips — “Try protect yourself, because we certainly can't.”

You are further faced with the effects of decades of poor leadership and governance, which have established the lowest standards for this little island.

I struggle with the great contradiction that is Jamaica and Jamaicans. We are a people who take personally the fact that an athlete doesn't run through the line, we dismiss a team that comes in second, or we are offended by a performer who fails to entertain to our standards. We are the same people who accept and embrace the breaking of rules because “man haffi eat a food”, and classifies questions about unexplained wealth by leaders as “bad mind”. So our standards for sports and entertainment far surpass the standards we set and accept for the fundamental pillars of development in any society.

When will we wake up and get serious? How long will we pretend to want Jamaica to be the greatest little country on Earth? Do we all understand that if every driver decides to run the red light, stop anywhere, or if every pedestrian decided to cross anywhere but the pedestrian crossing, that it will be chaos? Can we accept that if we continue to ignore unexplained wealth by our leaders, or their embracing of criminals and dismissal of the principles of good governance that our kids will never have access to the best schools, or our hospitals will continue to provide less than average care?

For the sake of the generations to come, who will want to live in the Jamaica of 2030, let us stop kidding ourselves. The first step we all have to make is to openly say the words “this is not right” when we see and hear of wrongs. We must have the courage to say “this is unacceptable”, “he or she was wrong” or, simply, “dat nuh right”. If more and more of our voices are raised in condemnation of wrongs we will start to recalibrate the negative societal norms that are keeping us back. It's a start.

Anne of Kingston

Kingston 3

anneofkingston@gmail.com


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