Land of phones, lotto and sex

Friday, January 19, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I remember we used to employ three descriptors for Jamaica: The land of sun, sand, and sea. And I recall as a youngster there was a three-descriptor TV show: Sex, lies and videotape. But we can now use three new words to describe Jamaica: Land of phones, lotto and sex.

Yesterday, while on vacation from work, I got the opportunity to watch the Television Jamaica coverage of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast. I was truly engaged by speaker Rev Astor Carlyle, who spoke of a circumcised heart being the source of a new nation. He touched all areas and did not, in my opinion, go overboard. He sought to reach the country's leaders and urge them to actively pursue a change.

The videographer gave a wide shot of the audience to transmit to the world images of a number of the nation's leaders on their phones; some having conversations and other swiping away at whatever. In the event one thought it just a candid moment, a few minutes later the videographer did it again, and there were too many disinterested faces to count. One party leader was busy reading his programme and a Member of Parliament was looking down at his watch. And there were those phones.

Why bother hosting these things when the people to learn and be changed by them attend but pay no attention?

Then, later in the day I watched as Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the limited state of emergency for St James. The coverage was broken for two inserts: the drawing of the lottery and the advertisement for a male-performance-enhancing tonic. I know the stations must make money, but it just seems to signal the lack of seriousness with which we, as a nation, take some issues.

We too often behave as though we are not a real country. Optics matter, so what were the visual messages we sent to the young Jamaican sitting in front of the television today? He/she is growing up in a confusing, crime-ridden country that seemingly has no value system.


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