Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Letter of the Day: Social awareness, civic pride and patriotism

Published:Thursday | April 28, 2016 | 4:00 AM
In this 2015 photo, members of the Islington Dinki Mini Group from the Islington High School perform at the Independence Day parade at King's House.

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Lack of social awareness and social responsibility are destroying our economy and our culture. Most Jamaicans are proud of our nationality and culture, but this patriotism isn't displayed in our day-to-day behaviour. The majority of the problems facing Jamaica and Jamaicans stem from our inability to see that our actions affect the society and economy in one way or the other.

We blame our leaders for the economic and social state of our country. They deserve some of the blame, but every Jamaican citizen deserves to be blamed. I blame our leaders for not educating the public about social responsibility and awareness. The average Jamaican believes it is the government's role to fix the economy, crime, education, etc. Social responsibility begins with understanding that every organisation and individual has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Being socially responsible is being aware that every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. The government needs to convey this message to the public. Each Jamaican needs to understand that our habits have an impact on the country's overall performance.

Here are a few examples: the more we turn a blind eye to crime and refuse to cooperate with the police, the more crime grows, investment decreases, tourism decreases, and employment decreases. The more we consume foreign products and fewer local products, our imports continue to outdo our exports, the economy suffers, local manufacturers and farmers suffer, and so does the dollar. The more we try to avoid paying our taxes, the more the government receives less revenue and has to borrow at high interest rates. Social irresponsibility also leads to classicism, inequality, injustice, and a general decay in unity among citizens.

For our country to move forward meaningfully, the government must devise a strategy and put policies in place that educate citizens about social responsibility and force a sense of unity among Jamaicans. We must start to create a sense of patriotism and pride by which all Jamaicans can be identified no matter where in the world we are.

- Garth Thompson