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Ronald Mason | ‘Do as I say, but do not do as I do’

Published:Sunday | June 12, 2016 | 6:00 AM

Integrity the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. This quality is frequently sought after in our society, but do we get?

We get politicians like Andrew Holness, who the courts found breached the Constitution of Jamaica and he then turns around and treats it as an inconsequential irritant. As he puts it, 'it is not something the average Jamaican is concerned with'.

If this is to be accepted then it raises serious questions. Is it possible to have good politicians coming out of a bad society? Further, why do we expect our politicians to be honourable people? Andrew Holness stated that his financial records would have been released in March of 2016.

We are fast approaching the middle of June 2016 and there is no specificity of when it will be released. Let us make it quite clear, he is under no obligation to release his financials; however, he committed to do so at a specific time. Time is of the essence in the release of these financials. The longer they are secreted from the public review, it brings into question whether a sanitised version is being prepared. Integrity.

 

FREENESS MENTALITY

 

This society is raised on a steady diet of anancyism and samfie, freeness mentality, 'informa fe ded'and 'ah nuh nutten dat'. Andrew Holness rose to the position of prime minister because he was from the post-Independence generation and was perceived to be new and different. One must question whether that is noticeable.

The country needs as a national priority leaders who will appeal to and encourage our better nature. It is awfully hard to govern in this society when there is no trust. At present, there is no trust between the 'gangs of Gordon House' and those who are governed. They shave the truth, they lie by omission, they twist the commitments and they presume the people are too dumb to know. The politicians keep telling the society, 'do as I say, but do not do as I do'. Where is this path leading to?

The indiscipline and lawlessness in the society is fertile ground for all manner of nefarious activities. We have perfected the lotto scamming where one person has been convicted of stealing more than US$5 million. Children reported as saying lotto scamming is the profession they want to pursue.

The police blame the lotto-scamming activity for a significant numbers of homicides. This is the same police force that is alleged to have had death squads in Clarendon. This is the same police force where a serving police officer is shot and killed allegedly in the act of armed robbery of a bar. It is the same police force where officers from one of the special squads had an unauthorised officer driving a police vehicle that crashed into the back of a civilian and the civilian was hassled and browbeaten by the local investigative police.

Could it be that these police officers take their cue from the governance officials who direct their activities? Ask yourself the question: if you were contemplating an investment in Jamaica, would you make that investment? The misuse of government funds, as reported from the Factories Corporation of Jamaica. Nobody in Jamaica trusts the political leadership.

 

RIDDLED WITH DIVISION

 

The educational system is riddled with division. It appears that the Ministry of Education is currently engaged in social re-engineering. They would use auxiliary fees to dumb down the few high schools of excellence. This is not a case of rising tide lifting all boats, but rather to bring down everybody to exist on J$19,500 per year. It would make too much sense to build up the allocations to the schools at the bottom. This move reeks of a lack of integrity to score cheap, political points and hopes it pays off in electoral success. How disappointing.

The Church as an institution profiles once a year in a meaningless feel-good called the National Prayer Breakfast. Good publicity, some funds for a charity, but very little of anything else. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Jamaica needs help from a few men and women who are prepared to be judged on their integrity, of being honest, having strong moral principles and an interventionist attitude. I get the question frequently, 'where do you think Jamaica will be 20 years from now?' Sadly, I don't see much prospect of improvement.

Too many politicians go to Parliament not having two coins to rub together, or there is no public knowledge of inherited wealth. It boggles the mind that they spend way over $10 million to secure and stay in a job that pays $3 to $7 million a year. The power is easily converted to cash. There was a time in the past where a prominent politician, namely 'Father Coombs', was buried in a pauper's grave. He surely did not have two and three properties or a second property in Florida. God help Jamaica.

 

Gary Spaulding

 

Over the years, I frequently crossed paths with one Gary Wayne Spaulding. I found him to be an engaging, very opinionated young man who was willing to educate. In all my dealings with him, I never had reason to think about what his political affiliations may have been. As long as the citizens of this country will display the integrity he did, all might not be lost. Walk good, Gary.

- Ronald Mason is an attorney-at-law and Supreme Court mediator. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and nationsagenda@gmail.com.