Faith, hope and fairness
It is clear that what some members of the Simpson Miller administration expect is that the media will be part of a cheering squad delivering daily pats on the back for the performance of duties they were elected to execute.
While mandated to give credit where it is due, the job of the media must be to take to task the persons elected to manage the affairs of State and report fairly and accurately the state of the nation.
As we noted last week, and we maintain, the country entered 2015 with many of the familiar challenges that have dogged us for years. However, Jamaicans are buoyed by great hopes for our people and our nation.
The indicators seem to point to 2015 being 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.
For us, 2014 was the year of chikungunya, which will be not only 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 terrorist acts leaving many nervous and fearful.
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 paint a glossy picture of the future, we still have 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.
We accept that 2014 was a year when all major crimes (including against children) were down by double digits, and, very significantly, 127 fewer persons were killed in police-involved shootings.
However, can anyone take comfort that in a nation of 2.7 million persons, 1,005 were murdered last year?
We take hope from the firm handling of the country's fiscal realities by the minister of finance, Dr Peter Phillips. While we were pulled from the brink by stringent and sound policies, we are yet to see real economic growth across the society.
As we noted last week, in his New Year's message, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's appeal stated, 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. 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 know and 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.