Columns

Holness not dancing here; will he dance abroad as Caricom prez?

Franklin Johnston

Friday, July 13, 2018

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Many Jamaicans have not learnt that believing something does not make it true; disliking a man does not mean he is not best for the job, or liking Brazil does not mean they will win. Many people like Andrew Holness and also Peter Phillips. Why?

“Boss, mi jus' like di man deh; yuh nuh see 'im? A fi mi man dat!” No résumé or track record, but they believe — as critical thinking is rare after a century of State schools, decades of free education, with 90 per cent plus enrolment in early years and primary school. Sad!

We are also easily distracted and lose sight of the big picture. Politicians exploit this lapse with circuses, but by vigilance we may keep them on track, so do not lose hope. We will have growth and security — ere the fat lady sings; we believe!

We had a depressing discourse recently with Rastafari, who believe our ancestors were kings, queens. But unless Africa had mass regicide 400 years ago, and sold its royalty into slavery, this is a lie. But if so, royals do not work much anyway.

Growth is the work of ordinary people and extraordinary leaders. So believe what you wish, but don't get in my way as we must prod Prime Minister Andrew Holness to get success. The idiots did not see we are one race in many hues and cannot build a nation on colour-coded lies. Garvey said history is key, but Africa has not written its history, and we can't wait on them to rise, so let's focus, build Jamaica, and a future for our kids.

Holness is our present hope, so do not be distracted, but hold him to account or 55 more years in poverty is our lot. We have no title to Tainoland by contract, conquest, or adverse possession, so we must own it by huge production and sad history must not disempower or distract as success is the best revenge on our forefathers account. Shame on those who sold and bought our long-dead ancestors, but they too are dead, so work for success.

In East Africa, work colleagues told me tribes got rid of disruptive members by selling them to foreigners. I sat in my hotel and wept!

I am a proud Jamaican and we must focus on the big picture and hold Holness accountable for our security. Sir, rid us of the violence by our 98 per cent black majority, and second, grow prosper our nation and we will call you blessed. But if you and your team get rich while we remain poor, we will get you!

The security establishment talks, but random violence evinces erosion of the rule of law. No one is safe! The murder of Diaspora members in St Thomas, Portland, and mass killings in Westmoreland is evil. The strength of a police force is not guns, but work, so people do not be offended. Sadly, our police do not sweat the small stuff and get active on the threat, but after the murder. Unacceptable!

Expect no jobs, income, consumption or production if crime does not abate. Holness is now midterm and neither security nor growth is on track. Is he trying? Yes! The police? Yes! Are they winning? No! Are we hopeless? Maybe.

Cabinet closes its collective mind and will not tap into innovative civilians or train our communities to protect ourselves, but Holness has good speech. He just hosted a lively soca word-fest in MoBay; did it help our growth or murder epidemic? Did West Indian leaders visit the zone of special operations in Mt Salem? Is there any sympathy for our loss? Friends live high on the hog, and not even a minute silence? Also, did our Diaspora react to the bloodbath of their fellows? Given an ultimatum on withholding remittances, will they? And the soca crowd promoted Holness despite his failing grade here. Crazy!

Holness, our top employee and prime minister, failed to curb crime, and with “5 in 4” in tatters is doing a 'roast' as president of Caricom. Their logic is to promote a man who can't prosper one nation to run a dozen in the Eastern Caribbean? Are we demented, or just desperate people?

Jamaica is in an existential crisis. We now understand 45 years of stasis in Caricom. He got a pristine economy from the People's National Party and promised big growth. We wait!

Does Holness have job pressure? Wake up, Church and civil society! Does Economic Programme Oversight Committee approve this distraction of Caricom?

Meanwhile, the next 18 months are crucial to our big picture. We want monthly crime reports in the press by parish, as is the the logic of parish councils, Statistical Institute of Jamaica data, parish courts; police reports by parish may be in sync. We need the same granular data on growth by indicators as the Jamaican dollar, jobs, food, imports, exports, foreign direct investment, business starts, approved plans, houses completed, tourist arrivals, remittances, manufactures, etc. Growth is everybody's business, so put this data in the press as if we keep Cabinet's feet to the fire on the big picture. Holness may end his term on target and we all win. Stay conscious!

 

Franklin Johnston, D Phil (Oxon), is a strategist and project manager; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK); and teaches logistics and supply chain management at Mona School of Business and Management, The University of the West Indies. Send comments to the Observer or franklinjohnstontoo@gmail.com.

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