Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Norris McDonald | Prices high, workers strike, times hard, ‘Dutty Tuff’

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Norris McDonald
Norris McDonald
The increasing labour unrests reflect the growing frustrations.
The increasing labour unrests reflect the growing frustrations.

Jamaican workers are fed up with wages that don’t worth ‘nutten’. The increasing labour unrests reflect the growing frustrations. Increased strikes are breaking out. This no doubt reveals a demand for not just more money, in my opinion, but an expectation that when someone works, they get wages that can support their basic family needs.

It’s a global phenomenon, wide spreading

Markets picks, winners, losers, eh-he!

Hungry ragged homeless, squatting

Wealthy bosses, tax-cheating

On workers wage, penny pinching

Housing crisis, slumming

Mirasmi baby, skin shrinking

Children dying, mothers bawling

What a worrisome ‘Jamaica 60’ this is turning out to be.

Political independence ought to bring economic benefit to the broad masses of people.

Are we suppose to be having a Jamaica 60 where the Jamaican dollar, which valued two times the American dollar in the 1960s, is now worth less than one red American cent?

We live in an unfair world, my dear friends, in which an overvalued American dollar and other isms and schisms are used to transfer wealth from the poor countries to the rich industrialised nations.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic worsened an already unpleasant situation, in a ’dawg nyam dawg world’ in which an overvalued American dollar, unfair competition, wage theft, and wealth transfer from poor nations to the industrialised rich ones creates a crisis of daily living.

Food riots are breaking out in some countries. On top of the lack of economic development and unjust economic systems, the Russian-Ukraine war is being used by many big multinational corporations to amass huge profits.

Oil and petroleum producers, drug manufacturers, food producers and distributors have been the most egregious.

The COVID negative economic effect was certainly not felt by the big drug companies Pfizer, BioNtech and Moderna. According to the medical website, reliefweb.int, these companies made US$65,000 per minute while “98 per cent of people in low-income countries have not been fully vaccinated”.

Then we have ‘Big Oil and Gas’ who have been fleecing the public while using the Russia-Ukraine war as their excuse for jacking up prices.

An examination of the financial records of 28 of the largest oil and gas companies shows that they made over US$100 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2022, Guardian newspaper reports.

So, we see in just these two areas alone, how the world’s poor are being ripped off.

It doesn’t matter, therefore, how much the poor nations devalue their currency; that won’t make things any better.

The poverty-stricken Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa are weighed down by the protracted IMF-international banksters, foreign debt crisis. Why are policymakers in the poorer nations, including the Jamaican government, following the road-to-nowhere, self-destructive IMF political economic policies?

Strike by workers, to withhold their labour, is their way of saying they are fed up.

Tumbling markets, investors’ fear

Irrational money growth, crises near,

No production mi ah tell yu man

Farmers, workers, middle class

Fed up with price rise frustration!

Strike! Strike! Strike! News Flash!

J.A’ 60 Bus in head-on, IMF crash!

This extremist open market, profit-driven model of capitalism leaves the general welfare of workers and their family out of the economic equation.

Is there something missing?

O, yes! What about food?

Lawd gawd!

Is dis story de bitta truth?

Bra dawg peep salivating!

Lellie wata gulp dripping

On chicken bone fretting

Watching Chigga Foot Tony

Belly grumbling, rumbling

Eat every bone-meal bit!

I remember the days when arrowroot porridge was a staple in Caribbean baby diet. Open market lovers scoffed at it, but guess what? It is now being sold in American supermarkets manufactured by other countries.

Faced with the present bleak global nightmarish reality, the IMF has changed their broken record tune. In the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, April 22, they have finally acknowledged what I was already predicting in the pages of the Jamaica Gleaner.

Even though they are blaming the Russia-Ukraine war – the dog ate my homework excuse – the IMF has considerably downgraded their economic growth predictions.


My dear friends, there is no possibility to escape the vicious poverty-crime inhumane world in which profits and money power take great precedence over human lives.

Yes, we know it takes “cash to care” about population needs. But when will the astronomical rise in profits of the non-taxpaying world elites ever reach a satisfaction point?

In this Jamaica 60, if Mrs Louise Bennett-Coverley, Miss Lou, was alive, she would be well over 100 years old. Please, Miss Lou! Help me tell this bitta truth with your poem, ‘Dutty Tuff!’

An all dem marga smaddy weh

Dah gwan like fat is sin

All dem-deh weh dah fas wid me

Ah lef dem to dumpling!

Sun a shine an pot a bwile, but

Things no bright, bickle no nuff

Rain a fall, river dah flood, but,

Water scarce an dutty tough.

Effective political management of an economic system is therefore extremely important. And this means detailed planning that includes, among other things:

• Water resources management

• Increase investment in food production to supply population needs

• Monitoring the discrepancy between supply and demand

• Giving priority to domestic producers over open market, foreign suppliers

• Solving the housing-population crisis

• Investment in education and youth skills training

• Having a healthy population.

Where is the money to come from? From that being doled out to pay the IMF and the international banksters!

Now hear dis…

Government dickering wid IMF

But de dollah not worth farthen

Not one red ‘American cent!

Please, Sir! Don’t blame ‘Rona’

Don’t confuse DEBT, wid DEATH!

Wha happen Backra – yu deaf?

Memba G-Beck an’ Mike Witter did seh

“We need a production plan” – Get it?

Yes! Times are hard and ‘Dutty Tuff’ as Miss Lou would ‘ah seh’, but the Government can’t keep praying for better, while paying the IMF and expect them to do like American Evangelist Oral Roberts, and send a prosperity miracle!

That is just the ‘bitta’ truth!

Norris McDonald is an economic journalist, political analyst, and respiratory therapist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and miaminorris@yahoo.com.