Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Hope…what hope for a nation?

Published:Thursday | February 26, 2015 | 12:00 AMAstor Tate

When we think of the two political organi-sations dominating the political landscape in our little island and juxtapose them to the myriad of problems we find ourselves in as a country, it begs the questions: who will give us hope? Will the beloved "lover of the poor", Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, give us hope? Or will the power-hungry, fractious opposition, with leader, Andrew Holness, give us this hope? Might God be our only hope in this haze?

Jamaicans are hoping for many things, many of which must be affixed to the hopes and dreams of our nation. Of a truth, much of what we're looking for will never materialise until things change in this country. Take, for instance, our high energy costs, which have a crippling effect on economic growth. We all hope it will change, and change for the better. We see a drastic fall in oil prices, but very little changed at the pumps. No appreciable reduction in energy costs is observed.

Will our economy grow? Will it really grow? Will we ever see 3, 5, or 7% growth in our economy? I hope so, and so does the young man fresh out of university who is faced with a mounting student loan. So, too, that young family with only one person working, struggling to make ends meet. Likewise the fledgling entrepreneur desiring to see his business get off the ground.

 

tertiary education

 

Will the cost of tertiary education ever be affordable for the mass of aspiring young people in this country? The fact is, most cannot afford it. I would venture to suggest that most who actually end up acquiring a degree also acquire serious debt. Is there hope for numerous students who are able to do 'free' CSEC subjects? The number of students reaching the matriculation requirements for universities will increase with more students sitting more subjects. The Students' Loan Bureau is unable to help all. Where will the help come from? Do I dare mention postgraduate studies?

Will we reach a point where the wait times in hospitals start to decrease? Certainly, if we had better clinics, this problem might be aided. However, very little attention is given to them and this results in overwhelmingly stressed hospitals. The cry for up-to-date, functional equipment will not end soon; neither will those for more drugs to be made available.

 

corrupt service officers

 

On the matter of governance, who will put the corrupt politicians in prison? Considering we can hardly get them to apologise, much more resign, there is little hope. Then who will prosecute fearlessly the corrupt police officer? Will he be allowed to carry on unhindered? Is there any hope for the taxi drivers,and business operators who are tormented endlessly by the extortionists? Will we ever live to see mature discussions and debates taking place in our Parliament? Are we to forever be faced with 'tracers' and hostile hooligans? We might soon give PG ratings to video clips from Parliament.

Consider all these questions. Then, ask yourself: who will I vote for in the next election? Which of the two leaders/parties offers more hope for the future? If you are any at all like me, you will conclude, like I have, that there is little hope in these two parties. If it is in these two institutions alone that we have hope, then we will continue to be most miserable.

It is about time we make our votes really count. So I say, do not vote. Do not vote until you have the questions about your future answered. Do not vote until you have seen a team and leader that inspires hope and confidence in the future. Vote for a credible plan and not an incredible party or person. Vote for Jamaica.

astortate_205@yahoo.com