Why do Jamaicans routinely accept incompetence?Tuesday, June 08, 2021
No society can achieve optimum economic, social, and political development if the citizens are prepared to accept incompetence in their Government, public institutions, and private companies.
Regrettably, Jamaicans have become accustomed to accept being overcharged for goods, receiving poor or unreliable services, and tolerating inadequate infrastructure. Sanctions for poor performance, incompetent management, and corruption are often not robust or demanded enough.
A fatalistic attitude and a willingness to accept specious excuses from those who failed in their duty have overtaken us: The country is poor and developing; this is how Jamaicans are; we are a small country; give the youth a chance; and so on.
When things are done well we are not always quick to give recognition to those so deserving, and there is little routine transfer of skills from one individual or organisation to another. This is ironic because Jamaicans individually strive for the highest global standards and attain and set them in a number of areas, among them sports, entertainment, and tourism.
The country suffers an enormous price for the incompetence in lost opportunities, increased costs, personal inconvenience, embarrassment, and substandard performances.
Relatively few are held accountable unless they blatantly steal large sums of money. Government officials can remain in office when in any other self-respecting democratic country resignation would be mandatory.
Politicians and political appointees can mismanage institutions and programmes and not be removed from office or are allowed to just move on to another political sinecure, without acceptance of responsibility or any sanction for failure.
The society is just too accustomed to incompetence to bother to complain, in case they are labelled unpatriotic, a Comrade or a Labourite.
The most recent example of costly incompetence is to be seen in some aspects of our national football programme. The fact that our Reggae Boyz lost a critical practice match against Japan's national team over a simple matter of a COVID-19 test is one symptom.
Incompetence in our football programme risks embarrassing the country internationally, putting our long-suffering and underpaid coach at a disadvantage, while demoralising the players.
Such problems are bound to make it difficult for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to get its choice of players, mobilise financial support, and prevent the very talented team from realising its true potential.
Making it to the final round of the World Cup is important to the pride and morale of a people demoralised by economic decline and lockdown. It is more than a sport, it is an important national endeavour.
We recall what going to the France World Cup finals did for the country in 1998 and what success in track and field at the Olympics and World Championships has done for the self-belief and national pride of Jamaica.
Incompetence should not be allowed to rob us of the glory that should be ours or the national development which we deserve and crave as a nation. Let us show our intolerance to incompetence, beginning at the community level.
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