Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Letter of the Day | Political incompetence: the secret of Jamaica’s failures

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2019 | 12:00 AM


The following has been the normal situation in Jamaica for the entire history of our independence.

1). The country is overrun with trash.

2). Jamaica, land of wood and water, has annual water shortages due to poor water management and lack of adequate water storage reservoirs. Yet, periods of rain are creating flooding in urban areas due to poor storm water management.

3). The city of Kingston is run-down, stink and falling apart, while the Government has hired foreign firms to build our parliament building and ministries with foreign loans.

4). The Government of the country has borrowed and keeps borrowing money from foreigners to build our infrastructure, as if no Jamaican firm is qualified to do any of the construction.

5). The governments, since being an independent Jamaica, have been unable to find a way to empower and enable the majority of Jamaicans, whose ancestors came here in chains, to live in normal pursuit of happiness, peace and safety.

6). The administrations over the years have been unable to ensure that all Jamaicans have affordable access to housing, education, health and safety.

7). The politicians of Jamaica have become the most successful individuals since the plantocracy of the 18th century. Every politician, once elected to office and having served a certain number of consecutive terms, is guaranteed a pension that will enable them to live a life of luxury as long as they live. They also get access to potential business opportunities to make money based on information gained from prospective business deals. The information that gives them this opportunity is often classified as ‘confidential’, because they – the politicians – say so.

8). Former prime ministers of Jamaica are entitled to receive a pension equal to the salary of the sitting prime minister and all the associated benefits that come with the position. This law was brought to Parliament by the longest-­serving prime minister and passed unanimously in both Houses. So while the Jamaican people become heirs to generations of debt incurred by the politicians, who benefit from endless pensions equal to their salary while serving in Parliament, Jamaicans, in the meantime, struggle to make ends meet, and the country falls apart.

I note the above as an example of all that has transpired since Independence in Jamaica. I point them out to illustrate that what has transpired in Jamaica over the past 57 years has been a travesty. Jamaica has been the subject of what can only be described as total incompetence on the part of the overall political leadership, who have been the beneficiaries of every Jamaicans’ taxes, hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

We now have to survive in the environment of those who have become marauders, who unleash death, destruction and mayhem on the rest of us in Jamaica, while the politicians’ plot to remain firmly seated in positions of power, privilege and prosperity remains intact.

The incompetence of our elected officials is killing us, and leading the country to a fate worse than slavery.