Thu | Oct 21, 2021

Prosperity under pressure

Published:Friday | May 31, 2019 | 12:23 AM


By any objective standard, the last three years of the Andrew Holness administration have witnessed a great deepening erosion of faith in the political process on account of the scandalous extravagances of ministers in his Cabinet and among supporting public administrators.

People from all walks of life in Jamaica today are now prepared to think and believe, more freely, the worst of politicians, and have become, more or less, more cynical in their attitude towards politics.

But that is only because they have come to believe that the political process, and, by extension, political power, have been perverted to the corrupt and naked self-interest of politicians.

As such, it is my view that far greater mechanisms must now be found to get civil society to appreciate that political scandal is important because it illustrates the truth that men and women, given power, are more likely to use it in their own, rather than in anybody else’s, interest, and that this tendency tends to increase with the degree of power conferred.

The Government’s prosperity stars are dimming while the masses’ sense of deprivation and insecurity increases, all because the Holness administration chose to make the goal of prosperity a creature of political power when in fact, true prosperity – economic, social, psychological, spiritual, and otherwise – refers to conditions that men and women create for themselves.

For the creation of genuine prosperity, they need not the stumbling block of a coercive power steeped in scandals and corruption. What they need, instead, consistent with a stable political order, is the full maximisation of individual freedom and security.

But all across Jamaica, business operators, large and small, women folk and children, working men and pensioners, harbour a sense of deep insecurity under the oppressive weight of marauding gunmen and criminals and the norm of exploitative scandalous, corrupt conduct.

Continued unchecked, this is bound to expose the descendants of this generation to being more independent as far as this is possible, unprepared for true liberation and for taking on the task of creating their own prosperity. All of this is likely to happen in a space where increasing numbers of Jamaicans, as late as 2002, have withdrawn their enthusiasm for participation in the voting process.

It is obvious, therefore, that a genuinely prosperous future for Jamaica in the remaining 21st century must be bound in something profoundly new. Anything less will be merely perpetuating our political and cultural deficiencies.