Ronald Mason | Awards time again!
The year 2016 is coming to a close, and it is time to reflect on all that has happened before. Domestic violence has been a perennial feature of our lives. It has always been a taboo issue.
The family secret is always preserved because one does not wish to have a public suss at which they are the centre. However, this year, it appears it has broken the borders with very public and tragic consequences, and I ascribe some of this to those who claim to be religious. Some denominations, more than others, have taken this literally, "submitting yourself one to another in the fear of God". "Wives, submit yourself on to your husband, as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife - Ephesians 5: 21-23. Can't you just imagine a male beating to death his partner and screaming that she must obey? This doctrine has been part of Christianity, as long as it has been around. The Church defends the status quo with very little regard for the consequences it has wrought over time. For this award, the Church is given the Marking Time award, without distinction.
During the course of the year, we had a continuation from 2015 of the bad gas saga. To date, the perpetrators have not been identified or sanctioned in any manner made known to the public. It is interesting to recall the stance taken by this administration when they were in opposition. Bobby Montague spoke of gas being supplied by ISIS, and the affected must be compensated. The current administration has earned the Bad Bargain Award for 2016.
The minister of national security must share this award for his actions on securing the files related to the Miami Herald story in which one of his fellow parliamentarian colleagues occupies a place of interest. Will we ever get the complete story on this, or is it birds of a feather protecting each other? Jamaica 2016.
Probably the award for Most Negative Connotation for the Year 2016 must go to the NSWMA board, which found it justifiable to elevate the second- best candidate to the top job, who, coincidentally, is a political activist of the governing party.
Yet in the same breath, the chairman of the board, who is seen to be normally sane and sober, speaks to the NSWMA no longer collecting garbage, but being regulators, so you need a strong-arm ex-policeman, political activist to pursue regulatory objectives. Welcome to the Rotten Mango Award for 2016.
Commissioner of Police Carl Williams is limited to utilising the equipment and resources he is provided, but he has earned no trust or confidence in the year 2016. Crime stalks the land. Crime is under-reported. Things in the public domain are unresolved - drug boat in Westmoreland, Duppy Flim, Tesha Miller still at large, and nothing on the homicide in Barbican at Patrick Bailey's home. These are all contenders for a second Rotten Mango Award.
A third Rotten Mango Award must also be awarded to the minister of energy, science and technology for the filling of the ministry with political activists. Shame! Shame! Where is the difference, Andrew Holness?
There is an industry in Jamaica that is always correctly referred to as a significant economic driver. Tourism earns us a major amount of foreign exchange, but the 'us' at this time can be limited to the industry players only, not the man in the street. The jobs generated are rarely permanent, well paid, or come with any fringe benefits.
There is a recent entry that puts money directly into communities and into Trench Town more than any other and is until now devoid of the heavy hand of government. Now the minister of tourism seeks to regulate Airbnb and provides as justification data collection. This is a lame reason and a power grab of the most stark and crass form. Thirty-two thousand foreigners have already utilised this new feature of our tourism, and there are no published reports of adverse consequences. Here comes the recipient of the Chief Anancy Award. Congratulations, Edmund Bartlett.
The Parliament and the Government have been dutiful in making attempts at stabilising and adjusting Jamaica's macroeconomy. This display proves that if we were to ever focus on the really important things, Jamaica could be prosperous and wouldn't need public relations centred on the word 'prosperity'. The increase in GDP growth, the new agreement with the IMF, and the increased educational budget, taken together, have earned Andrew Holness the Ackee Award.
Congratulations, all. Jamaica mourns.