Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Great hope for Jamaica

Published:Monday | December 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have great expectations for Jamaica in 2016. I hope that we shall have an election without bloodshed. We have grown accustomed to shedding blood with ease and frequency. Politics is no longer an excuse.

In addition, crime and criminals have to be dealt with. More economic opportunities are needed. People must be at work, must have a stake, must feel the benefits of justice.

I hope that Jamaicans will develop a greater sense of priorities which lead them to spend on what is really important. If people are spending so much to acquire visas to the USA, Canada and the UK, they are clearly making an investment in the future.

Why do people have to pay for visas and not contribute to their health and education? Why do people borrow money to go to a concert and other fun things, but leave the school fees unpaid?

One lesson that people who are considering migration have to learn is that nothing is free in the metropoles. There is no free lunch.

Meanwhile, back at our proverbial ranch, we have raised a group of Jamaicans on the freeness mentality since Independence. Free light, water, no rent, 'let-off', handouts. This idea permeates the entire society. Waivers, contracts to fix roads as frequently as possible, big jobs, little jobs, no jobs, but getting paid.

We cannot borrow the money of taxpayers in other countries to live big. Savings are crucial, and as my grandmother use to say, "Mr Death and Mr Taxes are sure." For those who have lived by the rules like myself, there is a fear that our taxes and pensions will lead us nowhere as we stare penury in our face with our soon-to-be-anticipated pensions.

We are at the place where we have to make the investment in the future despite the uncertainties. We have to be good stewards of our resources in a more sensible fashion. I hope that I am not expecting too much, as we have demon-strated a capacity for managing our lives and problems.

There is no foreigner who is coming to solve our problems. The coming year is a time for less chat, less 'tracing' and more action to report progress, more celebration, and recognition for those who get things done. The leadership of business, the Government, and civil society must rise above the stasis, creating aspects that have kept the society trapped for so long.

HILARY ROBERTSON-

HICKLING

hilary.hickling@gmail.com

UWI, Mona