Mon | Apr 19, 2021

Letter of the Day | Can our leaders start being brutally honest?

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2021 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

While public relations (PR) is necessary for the many strategies that governments use to increase dialogue with citizens, when it comes to Jamaica, her people and the decades of mismanagement by successive administrations, there is certainly no place for optics and the like, as very little is done to prevent it from becoming propaganda.

Ideally, the government’s public relations should be guided by honesty, sincerity and accountability; after all, this is a democratic and developing country, and so there should be no room for any ‘prettying up’ of any of our present realities or trivialising certain matters.

As a democratic nation, I imagine that whichever political party is in power, the business of the nation should be treated like a family matter, where the head of the household does not try to downplay the effects of certain issues on other members of the family.

There is no place for optics when crime is getting out of control; for example, violence against women and the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s attempt to quell the outcry of citizens is by comparing this year’s statistics to last year’s to say, “Oh, it’s not that bad” this year or that.

Living in Jamaica is not pretty, and I wish our leaders would realise that and start focusing more on the people and our issues, instead of trying to play spin doctors to appease the international community and earn tourist dollars. It is high time that our leaders to be more open and honest about Jamaica’s situation.

Maybe if more of our leaders stop trying to downplay certain issues, the person who took the vial of vaccine at Cornwall Regional Hospital would have been found out and dealt with already for stealing from a medical facility, sending a clear message that this Government stands for something.

I believe that once leaders can stand in their integrity, there should be no problem with them being open and honest about our realities, discussing them and coming together to find solutions.

But a lot of problems will arise when leaders are worried about how they are viewed, jumping on various trends to appeal to the masses and ‘PR-ing’ themselves to quell cries; just in case a few citizens are awakened from their PR slumber now and highlight the challenges and wrongs.

But the current administration, in its desperate attempt to separate itself from the corruption-laden image, seems to have lost sight of its focus – the Jamaican people. In our present condition, we are a failed state in the eyes of our poorest and most vulnerable; and the way I see it, we can only go up from here once our leaders start being brutally honest about our present condition and call all of us out for where we are today. Not just the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party, but all of us for allowing our country to fester into what it is today.

SHANICA BLAIR