Letters to the Editor

Are we heading in the wrong direction?

Friday, August 18, 2017

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Dear Editor,

No matter how careful, fast or long we head in the wrong direction we will never reach our intended destination.

A vision guides us to a desirable destination. Are we still holding on to our main Vision 2030 to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, do business and raise families? This is only a decade away.

Before deciding where we want to go we should first appreciate or understand where we are coming from and know where we are. Sometimes people set out on a long journey, searching for a place, only to realise it was right where they had initially set out. This can prove a frustrating but also an enlightening experience.

“Nothing beats experience,” we often say. I do agree, but not wholeheartedly. There is something more valuable than experience, and it is the evaluation of that experience which is enlightenment. When we are mindful of the lessons learnt, and apply ourselves to avoid past mistakes and improve our situation, then we are living wisely.

Wisdom is the practical and useful application of knowledge, making good decisions. How wise have we been? How well have we been evaluating our experiences and why have we been repeating so many tragic mistakes?

Why is there a mindset that solutions to our socio-economic challenges should ideally come from foreign experts and investors, whether it is reforming education, health, or the constabulary force, or reducing the high crime rate, implementing the best fiscal and monetary policies and generally how to govern ourselves? We often embark on a search for answers (from foreign experts) to questions we can easily answer. Is this Independence, Jamaican style?

As a nation, it is most commendable that since Independence we have made recognisable and significant progress in many spheres — increased life expectancy, reduced infant mortality, improved labour laws, literacy, etc — and there have been many individual bright sparks and icons in academics, music and sports. But we have also regressed socially with a very high crime rate and insignificant economic growth.

Given we have had 55 long and laborious years on a journey towards the now seemingly elusive dream of peace, stability, and prosperity, the pertinent question is: Are we drifting off course or have we been heading in the wrong direction?

Daive R Facey

dr.facey@gmail.com

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