LETTER OF THE DAY - A dearth of solid leadership
The Editor, Sir:
If Jamaicans were a self-respecting people, neither Bruce Golding and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) nor Portia Simpson Miller and the People's National Party (PNP) would be the choices for political leadership of the country at this time.
As a country, we suffer from a dearth of solid, insightful and selfless leadership. It is obvious from the responses of both parties to the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and Trafigura issues, that they prefer to argue over who looks worse rather than telling the country the truth about these issues.
These issues, however, are not even close to being the worst things about these parties and leadership. The worst thing about them is that they have many Jamaicans thinking the way they do - and they know it. Calls for reform to the political system will not happen because Jamaicans - wealthy and poor, educated and uneducated, men and women - are in a PNP-JLP dialectic which makes us feel that these are the only choices we have.
Bob Marley in his song Ambush in the Night sings, "through political strategy, they keep us hungry and when you gonna get some food, your brother's got be your enemy". It is this philosophy that explains the essence of Jamaican society and the dynamics of its politics. In every election, because the populace has been so seriously mis-educated, lines are drawn and false hopes are trumpeted. Who does not "put people first" argue that we are too "blessed to be so poor". We are led to believe the worst about ourselves and our brothers branded as being on the other side, and if necessary we kill and defend this belief in the name of politics.
There are very few persons in our politics now who are able to initiate a new discourse and inspire hope for all of us because they are blinded by green and orange lenses. Our police turn on our people in the most disgraceful ways, and that is good once certain groups remain above the law. Our politicians shamelessly enjoy the most privileged life, courtesy of taxpayers' resources, while poverty is on the rise.
It is sad, really sad, that both Bruce Golding and Portia Simpson Miller, who enjoyed so much popularity because of the hope they inspired, given their actions prior to becoming prime minister, are still in leadership. Our leaders have not carried through and cannot carry through their promises because they are committed to party and partisanship - not people and principle.
Cycle of hopelessness
The proof that we are in a cycle of hopelessness is in the fact that I have known no government which has not been managing through a crisis either created by them or left by the previous government. All our governments are usually elected to clean up the mess, corruption or depravity left by the previous one. There is always the illusion presented to us that it is our economy that is our problem. We need no more financial growth if we cannot make justice and truth ours forever.
The change we need is in the human capital in our country. As a people, we need to transform our minds to honour compassion and honesty. Above all, we need a set of people who lead with honour.
I am, etc.,
Rock Spring PA