Perspective and playing favouritesWednesday, August 18, 2021
What great public relations photo ops! The prime minister travels to Manchester with a fairly large entourage, including videographer, to deliver what appears to be six cases of beers, two cases of soft drinks, and an undisclosed cheque to a young lady who apparently baited him into responding to her social media post.
If it weren't primarily about you, Mr Prime Minister, but rather your desire to help someone, you would have dispatched one of your several emissaries to deliver the goods. And your time could have been more profitably spent addressing policies geared towards relieving the dire situation of thousands of similar young people searching for a start, evidenced by the numerous requests for individual help that followed this social media appearance.
Among those who need help, be reminded of the plight of the several vendors who have been displaced from Constant Spring Market under the guise that the structure would impede the alignment of the road — which proved false. A number of these unfortunate individuals have been left to ply their trade on the busy single lane Oliver Road, impeding the free flow of traffic and inconveniencing many other citizens, especially when travelling westbound during the afternoons. Others have had to share a section of the shelter-less bus bay, devoid of public sanitary conveniences for relieving natural bodily functions or even the potable water required for basic hygiene of food handlers.
All these indiscretions are in play while a vast tract of land on which the former market stood remains fenced off for purposes that are still unknown to the public. If the rumours are accurate, one day will reveal the favoured ones in yet another transfer of opportunity from the have-nots to the already have.
As if to assuage the concerns and feelings of the affected and callously displaced vendors, the “Minister of Announcements” declared in the Parliament during the latter part of 2020 that “next week the long-awaited refurbishment of the Stony Hill Market will commence”. Since then the only sound of hammering has been a vendor repairing a display table.
So there is good reason for the apparent ambivalence towards the system that does not respond with empathy to the wider society, but show signs of kowtowing to special interests and favoured individuals. Such is evidenced by the present anxiety of an impending negative fallout from the questionable decision to approve Dream Weekend partying, while simultaneously prohibiting much smaller house gatherings.
As a people, we long for some good news that benefit the nation as a whole, and not just a few. Just look at the proliferation of multi-storey buildings which now change the characteristics of single-home communities without any accompanying improvement to the already inadequate infrastructure. Such are the disparities existing in the experiences of Jamaica today.