Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Letter of the Day | No one ballsy enough to impose order

Published:Wednesday | October 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Events over the last week have presented many lessons and revelations. What I particularly find disheartening is the exposure of the fissures in the social and economic construct of our society that were whitewashed and made to look acceptable over the years.

First, we are thankful that we were spared the wrath of Hurricane Matthew. The question is, what if we had not? A regular heavy shower of rain in Kingston and urban St Andrew exposes so many inadequacies. Lack of proper planning is foremost.

Approved and unapproved developments are obviously undertaken without regard for proper disposal of flood water. Neighbours construct concrete boundary walls trapping run-off in their neighbours' property and houses are flooded, causing severe dislocation and the perpetual cry to political representatives for assistance.

Single-parent family residences are demolished and replaced with multi-family apartment and town house complexes, areas once covered by vegetation, are now almost entirely covered by concrete. Where does the run-off go? On to roadways, which are not properly constructed in the first place and into already inadequate drains.

Drains are supposedly cleaned and the debris is left on the sides of the gullies and drains, to be washed back into the said gullies after the first heavy shower of rain. Who is held responsible? No one!

We hear talk of not taking care of the poor and the oppressed. Why are so many in this state, and why wait until a hurricane threatens for us to show the underbelly of our society? Resources that could have been used to improve, in a sustainable way, the lives of the vulnerable have been squandered. So poor people who are left to live in hovels emerge like wet rats from their flooded abodes and make the news yet again.

We talk about affordable housing to the point of boredom. If such talk could translate into decent, safe, legal and affordable housing, Jamaica would not have a housing problem. Where is the will? Is it that some of us like the status quo, so the poor and oppressed will always be with us?

When, as a people, we have lost basic civility, pride and decency, no amount of passing IMF tests will transform our society. Some men urinate anywhere, anytime. Garbage is thrown anywhere and everywhere. Indiscipline on our roads is rampant. Corruption is rife. Scammers abound. Law and order is sidelined. Sections of Kingston and other towns are squalid.

Jamaicans, we need to take a stand. Hold ourselves responsible for our future and hold accountable those managing the affairs of our country. There is much hope. Many great and wonderful things are happening, but the ugly we cannot afford to ignore.