Benefits should accrue to the many, not the few
Prime Minister Andrew Holness should focus on developing policies geared towards relieving the dire situation of thousands of young people

Dear Editor,

What a great public relations (PR) photo op!

The prime minister (PM) travels to Manchester with a fairly large entourage, including videographer, to deliver what appears to be six cases of beer, two cases of soft drinks, and an undisclosed cheque to a young lady who apparently baited him into responding to her Facebook post.

If it wasn't primarily about you, PM, but rather your desire to help someone, you would have dispatched one of your several emissaries to deliver the goods. And your time would 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 the Facebook PR appearance.

Among those who need help are the several vendors who where 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 people are 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 west-bound during the afternoons. Others have had to share a section of the shelterless bus bay, devoid of public sanitary conveniences for relieving natural bodily functions, or even water required for basic hygiene of food handlers, while we promote adherence to the current COVID-19 mitigating practices.

All these indiscretions are in play, while a vast tract of land on which the former market stood remain 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 haves.

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 a system that does not respond with empathy to the wider society, but shows signs of kowtowing to special interest and favoured people. One such example is the warped idea of a resilient corridor, delineated in some places by an imaginary line running down the middle of the road, even though workers will be going in and out daily creating the nexus with the greater population. Another is the present negative fallout from the questionable decision to approve Dream Weekend, while simultaneously prohibiting much smaller house gatherings.

Jamaicans are longing for some good news that benefits the nation and not just a few, like the proliferation of multi-storey buildings which has changed the characteristics of single-home communities without any accompanying improvement to the already inadequate infrastructures. Such are the disparities existing in the experiences of Jamaica today.

Ralston Nunes

ralstonnunes@gmail.com

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