Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Jamaica is running out of time

Published:Monday | May 1, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Two policemen died last week and the new commissioner of police came to office in a time where murder, cybercrime and other acts of lawlessness prevailed. Many quarrel about the issues surrounding extradition of scammers and professionals implicated in their activities.

Ours is a country that is ambivalent about the rule of law. When you return to the island from the desired destinations in North America and Europe, you sense the return to lawlessness. The same Jamaican who toes the line in the countries to which many are doing everything necessary to reach, becomes an outlaw here.

There are reasons why we occupy the correctional facilities and mental hospitals in a disproportionate way when we break the law. We are being offered funds towards a new prison by the British government.




Our leaders refuse to speak out and do anything about the wrongs, as they fear the loss of the next election. In any case, most Jamaicans are withdrawing from the political process, observing the situation of corruption and talk from the two sides of their mouths.

For years now, many Jamaicans have realised that as citizens of this country, they are on their own. Many pay private security firms, cover their own health care, and have to find ways, including remittances, which may soon be taxed by Donald the Great, to survive.

My observations sound grim, but it is time for us to face the facts, and deal with them, instead of being defensive. We need the IMF to tell us how to spend the money that we are borrowing, or squeezing those of us who pay our income tax and land tax.

We need the officials of the US Embassy to tell us that many of us are stealing from Americans.

We need others to tell us that we have a noise problem, whether the revellers are churches, 'carnivallers' or 'dancehallers'.

Many years ago, I knew Trinidadians who left their country during carnival and I was perplexed, but now I understand. I have been to carnival twice and saw the complex range of artistic activities, music, costumes, and other forms of artistry. Here, we have adopted only one aspect of carnival. We want to be a cultural and creative industry hub without the structure and rules that are necessary.

Why aren't there indoor facilities which allow revellers to enjoy themselves without disturbing those who do not want to participate?

We cannot hope to become prosperous if our country continues to be unproductive and defiant. Tempus fugit.