Fri | Oct 18, 2019

A place of sorrow and grief

Published:Thursday | April 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Some weeks ago, I awoke with a sense of foreboding. I felt the presence of evil covering this land like a large cloud of volcanic ash. As the recent Icelandic experiences showed, they produced fear and trembling, loss of income and uncertainty. It affected people from all corners of the world, some directly and some indirectly.

Increasingly, I awake each morning searching for the joy which is becoming hidden in this land, as I realise that the killings have afflicted at least three generations of Jamaicans in those places now described as garrisons. We see the effects of intergenerational trauma in the psychology and behaviour of our citizens. I am wondering if the development of these enclaves is one of the unintended consequences of Independence.

For some citizens, Independence has meant more dependence on Government andthose who overpromise and underdeliver. Instead of creating more opportunities, there are more games of political chairs - removing of thosepersons in the diminishing numbers of jobs and resulting in the other spoils described by Carl Stone in the idea of patronage and clientilism and putting in the party faithful. We have sent thousands of Jamaicans into exile and then we speak about patriotism and diaspora.

Bereavement and sorrow now plague thousands of families, with the experience of loss becoming the norm. I grieve when I realise that the daily scandals and the avalanche of lies being fed to us by our leaders are symptoms of a very sick society. These problems have been growing for decades, but the absence of will has allowed them to thrive. Imagine if we had been able to develop a consensus about themajor pillars of a prosperous society, including a highly educated citizenry.

Tarnished reputation

Instead, we have had ad hoc policies, cutting a piece here and a piece there. This results inthe continued poor performance of students at the primary and secondary levels. Then we invest hours and days on commissions of enquiries when we already have the answers but lack the will to do what is necessary. We engage in the defence of the indefensible and delude ourselves on a daily basis. The most recent extradition matter is one of the worst experiences that this countryhashad. Our tarnished international reputation and the feeling of betrayal stalking the country are evident.

Too many people's tears are on this place and we are rapidly running out of solutions. My grandmother would have said "puh", an old time expression of disgust. Do we look to ourselves, run away or form some new coalitions? I wish that I had the answer in this time of collective failure.

It is my hope and prayer that we will rise from these ashes as so many have invested their lives and resources for generations. Our elders, children and grandchildren deserve a better future.

I am, etc.,

Hilary Robertson-Hickling

UWI