Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Let’s keep hope alive

Published:Wednesday | June 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Is Jamaica an exercise in futility? Today the heat, the harrowing experience of taxi drivers overtaking the line of traffic between MegaMart and the Canadian High Commission, and a conversation between two civil servants about their decision to withdraw their labour totally or partially at work, made me wonder if Jamaica is an exercise in futility. There are many other issues which contribute to my feelings today.

The civil servants were in the same lift that I stood in at one of the largest ministries of government. I really had to wonder. Some weeks ago, I suggested to my class that they were exhibiting ennui. They looked up the meaning of the word and some said it sounded bad. Today, I have a sense of ennui, weariness and sadness at the state of my country.

Three things have kept me optimistic and hopeful: the first is the life and contribution of Captain Horace Burrell, a visionary who brought Jamaica to a new level with his professionalisation of football and the qualification of the Reggae Boyz in 1998, and other contributions. His patriotism and absolute faith in his country, and countrymen and women, were riveting. Visionaries are often misunderstood: they believe things are possible which many others cannot see or believe. I hope he has inspired many more to become visionaries. Some saw him as arrogant and brash, but he used those qualities for a great purpose.

Second, the values of patriotism inculcated by my family have kept me going as well as a sense of helping to build the only country of which I am a citizen, Jamaica. Finally, the thousands of students who I have met at the University of the West Indies who want to feel positive about their country, and region, in spite of the many difficulties which are evident.

The people who lead the country need to be aware that hope is disappearing fast and many are leaving in body, mind and spirit.

Hilary Robertson-Hickling