Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Letter of the day: If only we treated each other as VIPs

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I have been observing Jamaica as the Obama factor influences our behaviour. We are being forced to do what we should be doing all the time, cleaning up the country, fixing the roads, and removing vendors who are working under unhygienic conditions in areas that are neither designated nor suitable.

It takes the coming of a VIP for us to get our country in order. The rest of the time, we embrace squalor with such ease. When we realise that others might see the grime and disorder, we suddenly rush into action. Roads that have taken months to be repaired are suddenly fixed. I am relieved to know that our leaders know the difference between what is acceptable and unacceptable.

It seems that we feel at liberty to generate garbage, dump it in gullies, and litter the stadium when we have political rallies and track meets. What is missing when we deal with our own business is the courage and will required of our leaders.

It takes the coming of VIPs like President Obama, chik-V outbreaks and other external pressures for us to become proactive.

I hope that the mantra of 'Yes We Can' will allow us to do the right thing after this visit. I hope that our leaders will take courage to address many of the intractable issues that we need to address, but don't because we lack the gumption, courage and will.

We should not need a campaign about the problem of litter, the destruction of the environment, the impact of disorder, but if we need to, we have to. If we expect the respect of others, we need to demonstrate that we respect each other in spite of the differences in terms of class, race, sexual orientation.

We need to consider the observation made about our need to have so much fun and talk that we must take ourselves more seriously and try to work to get ourselves out of this parlous state.