Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Jamaica should pay for body cameras

Published:Monday | August 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I read in The Gleaner on Friday, August 26, that we received a quantity of body cameras for the Jamaica police force.

This is another example, as is the case most times, that when we need something which is a necessity/life saving for a government organisation, hospital, police force and army, etc, it has to be someone from overseas giving it to us as a gift.

What puzzles me is, why do we keep accepting this level of freeness? Why don't we then accept it only on condition that we be allowed to pay for it and with a payment plan drawn up, and then we pay on schedule without fail?

Another generation is in the departure lounge, knowing it's the way things are done. Still another generation is coming up and inheriting this freeness lifestyle.

From observation, over the years, so many organisations locally, including a lot of our churches, operate this way. Financial help from overseas and teams of missionaries come in periodically and do building/upgrading of churches. The nature of the work the overseas missionaries do can be done locally. Sure, there is a cost, but if we (government, other organisations and churches) have our priorities right, it's very affordable.

Several times, medical teams come in to look at patients with dental, eye and surgical needs. Something which I think our doctors and nurses can do gratis locally and extend to overseas periodically.

Jamaica is considered next to Haiti, countries which rely on donations of essentials to survive. This doesn't have to be the case.

We are low on financial liquidity and we have only ourselves to blame, because we negotiated poorly when granting licences to companies to operate in Jamaica.

Foreign-owned hotels are major earners of foreign exchange. The phone, banking and insurance companies, to name a few, were granted licences to operate in Jamaica and they convert their huge profits from local sales to foreign exchange and transfer it overseas - all because we are poor negotiators.

We don't have to be relying on freeness to grow. We are capable of being a donor country instead of being on the list of the receiving.

Cecil Beharry