Keeping hope alive
The country entered 2015 with many of the familiar challenges that have dogged us for years. However, as an optimistic and mostly God-fearing society, we are buoyed by great hope for our people and our nation.
The indicators seem to point to a crucially important year for Jamaica's social and economic development, and even with the failures of the past, we somehow believe that, in the end, we will become triumphant.
People usually greet a new year with fresh optimism. Part of this optimism springs from the religious services and messages of hope that form part of the activities during the Christmas season and leading up to New Year's Eve.
For us, 2014 was the year of chikungunya, which will be remembered for the misery it unleashed on sections of the population, but more for the ineptitude of Ministry of Health officials in their handling of the crisis. On a global level, it was a disastrous year with the deadly Ebola disease in Africa and aircraft disappearing into thin air, as well as other air disasters and various terrorists' actions leaving many nervous and fearful.
For us in Jamaica, 2014, to a large extent, was the year of political obfuscation. The National Housing Trust purchase of the Outameni property in Trelawny is one clear example of how politicians can cause confusion by not levelling with the people. Instead of confronting the issues in a forthright manner, what we were treated to was the blame game being played out by politicos.
And while members of the ruling party continue to pat themselves on the backs and paint a glossy picture of the future, we have still not found a way to keep our children safe from predators, or to protect persons in lock-ups from deadly beatings, or to enforce traffic laws, or to minimise harassment of tourists, or to reduce scams, or to provide more jobs for those in search of work, or to battle drought conditions, or to arrest the slide of the Jamaican dollar, or to keep our towns and cities clean.
Taking all of the above into account, one could be excused for feeling a sense of hopelessness.
BE THE CHANGE, SEE THE CHANGE
In his New Year's message, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's appeal said in part, "Let us begin writing the first chapter of our life in 2015, using a different language of hope, faith, forgiveness and love, and be the change we want to see in Jamaica."
Even as we contemplate the myriad failures of the post-Independence era, and the tough challenges that lie ahead, we know that we cannot fail the generations that are coming behind. The optimist must realistically accept that life will go on despite the challenges.
Our political leaders, public servants, business leaders, security forces, and every Jamaican ought to believe that we must find the way out of our difficulties and come out triumphant so that life will be better for the average Jamaican.
The Gleaner urges every Jamaican to embrace 2015 and seize every opportunity that presents itself.