As a Jamaican I find it embarrassing to see the continued erosion of the once spotless brand called Jamaica. This is by no means a new phenomenon as the near civil riots of the late-70s almost removed our title as the "pearl of the Caribbean". Once again it came under severe pressure when, in the early 2000s, as our crime spiralled out of control we became the murder capital of the world. Surprisingly, we managed to survive both periods and though severely tarnished, managed to retain relevance and respect worldwide.
Fast-forward to 2012 and we seem to be in self-destruct mode once again. As if it wasn't enough to degrade the flag, our own sacred national emblem, our Parliament decided to try and outdo itself with a performance worthy of The Jerry Springer Show. This fish market was followed up by some half-hearted apologies which only continued to show the disdain and contempt that politicians have for the Jamaican people.
I hadn't even begun to look up from hanging my head in shame when the news surfaced about two elected officials representing the government being arrested for their alleged involvement in the lottery scam. Now, these men are innocent until proved guilty, but the fact that their actions or associations could put them in such an unfortunate position is ,at the very least, regrettable.
This new development along with the earlier display in Parliament brings into sharp focus the foundations of our political system and their suitability or lack thereof to address our current realities.We need to determine quickly who we are as a people and what we want for our future.
We also need to be reminded that the world sees no political party when they look at Jamaica as just one nation. And when the government fails the country fails. This new episode needs to be condemned from all angles and justice be swift and fair. There needs to be consensus on both sides that lead to improved representation for the people of this country. The prime minister saying she wasn't there and she was busy when asked about her views on the matter cannot be accepted by the people whom she serves. She is the leader of the country, not only the leader of the PNP. She is ultimately responsible for the safety and development of our island and the chief protector of Brand Jamaica.
Urgent action needs to be taken to improve our system of governance, our political structure and the transparency and accountability of government. If not, 50 years from now we will once again be left to bemoan the opportunities we didn't exploit and our failure to progress as an Independent nation.