THE EDITOR, Sir:
There are two different types of 'poor' in Jamaica:
1. The ambitious poor or 'strivers', whose aim is to better themselves and their children.
2. The laid-back, lacklustre, unambitious poor or 'sufferer', who use his status in life as a crutch and 'justifiably' expect others to maintain them with food, clothing, lodging, etc.
There are thousands of silent 'striving' poor whose main aim in life is to better themselves. We have recent examples:
A. Althea Smith, a newspaper vendor, whose daughter, Dr Neveta Sutherland, recently graduated with honours in medicine from the University of the West Indies.
B. Gifton Wright, the Kingston College student who came fourth in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This youth originated from Tawes Pen, a low-income community and the home of the One Order Gang.
C. A gentleman who sells second-hand rims at Barbican Square. He is currently putting his daughter through med school.
These striving poor are not looking for handouts or let-offs, or to benefit from politicians' largesse. Their main aim in life is to better themselves and their loved ones. Many of them suffer major setbacks, but they persevere and invariably succeed.
The 'sufferer poor' spend most of their time blaming others for their station in life. They somehow figure society owes them everything. They are generally parasitic ne'er-do-wells. Envy, avarice and grudgefulness propel them through life. They contribute nothing to society but expect to get everything that others work for.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of this 'sufferer-type poor'. They all have votes - votes that can be bought in cash or kind. Today, they hold the current crop of politicians ransom. Their battle cry is, "What have you done for me lately?" Or: "Let off a Manley ($1,000 bill) on mi nuh, boss."
Jamaican society continually tries unsuccessfully to placate this group - a group that contributes little or nothing to the betterment of society, and is a millstone around our necks.
It is time to take a closer look at this worthless group in our society and take measures to get them to contribute. Workers are needed on farms throughout the country, and there are many other types of work available - but most of them don't want to work because this will 'damage their structure'.
Politicians must stop talking about their concerns for the 'sufferer poor' and start asking them, "What are you doing to better yourselves?"
Port Maria, St Mary