Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Matthew down, crime to go

Published:Thursday | October 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I had a most interesting conversation with a relative on Tuesday morning, after it became clear that we were out of harm's way where Matthew was concerned. He's not a churchman, and is unapologetically selective in what he accepts and purports. His statement, however, pre-empted a lot of what we'll be hearing in church this coming weekend, "The high pressure ridge dem neh jus come suh; God sen dem fi tek weh Mattew." His conviction was such that even if I disagreed, there'd be no convincing him otherwise.

I don't know if anyone else wondered about how, from every indication, God answered our collective prayer to divert the path of Matthew in such an awesome way, and He seems not as forthcoming with the extinguishing of the fires of crime and corruption that are scourging our beloved country. Why is it so different?

The easy answer is, while changing the course of a hurricane only requires the cooperation of the winds and rains, curbing crime craves human compliance. And therein lies the challenge - that compliance is not forthcoming. We should know that God will not circumvent the full engagement of our will in any kind of reform that is to take place with us. The existence and use of our will is the very essence of the godlikeness with which we were created. We choose the course our lives take and what we do. And it is in this sense that we can choose to comply with our Creator's will for our lives (free of crime and corruption). Crime then exists, not because God is not interested to intervene, but because we lack the will to change.

I've wondered about this scamming phenomenon that is pervading Jamaica with a worryingly increasing rate in recent times. What is the cause of this? Might it be related to an increasing sense of hopelessness in experiencing changing national fortunes, because those at the head of the stream do give us a strong sense of insincerity, dishonesty and corruption? Here, perception is the only fact worth factoring. There must be a deliberate, demonstrated commitment to transparency at every level of governance. You have to wonder about the utterance of a senior member of one of the main political parties regarding kickbacks received from companies seeking to do business in Jamaica, where it was obvious that in some instances due diligence was not done, but perhaps just enough to receive that non-refundable fee. With no one named, fact is not important, perception is all that it would take for individuals to feel that they'd better take care of themselves too.

In so many instances, we are the answers to our prayers, which means that we must often change in order to get the change we desire. So then, more than just articulating a prayer, we must be prepared to DO something about crime and corruption in our country. Let's mentor more, offer more financial support to schools and other social establishments, build better relationships with the police, hold our leaders and ourselves more accountable, not just go with the flow, but change the game. This is not always easy, but it would sure make for a better Jamaica, land we love. Let's do it!

Charles Evans

College of Business and Management

Northern Caribbean University