Let’s stop kidding ourselves
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I would be hard-pressed to identify a vision more wonderfully captured than those espoused in Jamaica’s Vision 2030. Sadly, I fear it will remain just a beautifully written document. It captures a vision which, as a people, we have taken very few steps to attain.
We embrace lawlessness: yes, we do. We kid ourselves that we want crime and lawlessness to end while we continue to embrace the lowest standards for ourselves, and by extension our leaders. Officers of the law openly ignore breaches and leave the public to fend for themselves. As you traverse our roadways, drivers and pedestrians flout the rules of the road. As you enter your home or brave the outside for an evening of entertainment, you fear the worse. As you undertake your professional duties, one must regularly choose to play along, ignore, join or run from the regular instances of corruption.
And with all the struggles, you are faced with law officers, that instead of showing that breaches of the law are a personal affront to them, they continue to give safety tips. Safety tips which invariably telegraph a message of ‘try protect yourself because we certainly can’t’.
You are further faced with decades of poor leadership and governance which has established the lowest standards for this little island.
I struggle with the great contradiction that is Jamaica and Jamaicans. A people who take personally an athlete who doesn’t run through the finish line; who dismiss a team that comes second, or who are offended by a performer who fails to entertain. These same people accept and embrace the breaking of rules because ‘man have to eat’ and classify questions about unexplained wealth by leaders as ‘bad mind’. So, our standards for sports and entertainment far surpass the standards we set and accept for the fundamental pillars of development in any society. When will we wake up and get serious? How long will we pretend to want Jamaica to be the greatest little country on earth? Do we all understand that if every driver decides to run the red light, stop anywhere, or if every pedestrian decides to cross anywhere but the pedestrian crossing, that it will be chaos? Can we accept that if we continue to ignore unexplained wealth by our leaders or their embracing of criminals, their dismissal of the principles of good governance, our kids will never have access to the best schools, or our hospitals will continue to provide less-than-average care?
For the sake of the generations to come who will want to live in the Jamaica of 2030, let us stop kidding ourselves. The first step we all have to make is to openly say the words when we see and hear of wrongs, have the courage to say ‘this is not right’, ‘that is unacceptable’, ‘dat nuh right’.
If more and more our voices are raised in condemnation of wrongs, we will start to recalibrate the negative societal norms that are keeping us back. It’s a start.
Anne of Kingston