Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Of political handouts, Stony Hill robbery

Published:Wednesday | December 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM


In the 2011 general election, I found myself supporting a candidate for the first time in my more than 60 years as a journalist.

I backed the candidature of Damion Crawford in East Rural St Andrew because his platform focused on education and not political patronage and giveaways.

What he promised was not handouts, but education, from which the elector would benefit long after the giveaways have finished. This is what Jamaica needs, and anyone who disagrees, including political leaders, should be living in the Dark Ages.

Since universal adult suffrage in l944, I have witnessed where education has transformed hundreds of thousands of poor people in this country. Many poor and middle-class children have risen to unprecedented heights economically and socially.

However, there are still too many living in poverty.

The process of economic and social development needs to quicken so that those who live in the loop of poverty can come out and live a better life. There are too many living inside the loop.

It is going to take time to move them out, bur if leaders put their minds to the task, as Crawford did, it can be done. But it will not happen if ignorant people are going to say they prefer handouts to education, as some Comrades in Mr Crawford's constituency.

This is unhealthy for the country socially and contributes to the high crime wave which hit me recently. Three gunmen forced their way into my home in Stony Hill.

They put me and the helper to lie face down on the floor, and my wife, who is very ill, to sit on a rocking chair. One held a handgun against my ear, while the other two ransacked the house and tore off my chain with medal around my neck. They also took my watch, which I bought for $l0,000, and the apparent leader of the gang described it as a cheap watch, and returned it to me. In the process of the roughing up, I wet myself.

The police told me that the same gang had robbed 10 other homes in Spanish Town and Kingston in a similar fashion. They trailed elderly folks from the banks to their homes and robbed them.