'To be poor is a crime'Wednesday, August 18, 2021
The fear that the concept of change and prosperity affixed to the idea of 'Emancipendence' might never come to pass is a disease that rampages our Jamaica, land we love, and looms in the minds of those subjected to the lower class of the Jamaican society.
The reality is many Jamaicans are in despair as there are no fair grounds for them to seek upward mobility, especially since the price of everything is being increased, except for the singular most important element — their salary.
On August 12, 2021 the Transport Authority announced that there will be a 15 per cent increase in bus and taxi fares and, while the prices for simple commodities have also sky-rocketed, there is no substantive evidence depicting an enormous increase in the national minimum wage.
Whilst it is that the majority of our Jamaican society is alarmed and worried about the declivity of their dream for prosperity and change, the minority — which happens to be the elites and opulent folks — only regard this disaster as a minute dent to their profuse pockets of copiousness.
The people responsible for this great decline in our society cannot even begin to fathom the hurt that is felt in the poverty-stricken communities. Well, maybe they can, because most of them are products of these said communities, but their mercenary intent forbids them the privilege of being understanding and humane.
Just imagine the pressure of existing in the garrison or deep-rural areas where to live is to merely survive and you are sustained by nothing but valueless minimum wages to ensure the survival of yourself and others depending on you, and all you can hear is that the prices of all things have increased except for that of your income — that, in and of itself, is the cataclysmic effect of impoverishment.
If the local supermarkets increase their prices because of the inflation of taxes, then the person with small business in the community will have to follow the same trend, and what does that mean for an individual whose salary remains the same regardless of stated inflation?
It cannot be that a bread that used to be of the cost of $200 is now at $500, but minimum wage is at a standstill. How do you expect people to survive?
If the Government continues to deprive the people of living wages, a time will come — and it near — when the people will reorganise the society by ignoring law and order. As Freddie McGregor respectfully lamented, “To be poor is a crime.”
Keynsham District, St Elizabeth