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Jamaica must chart course of self-reliance

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM


There is an old story that goes like this:

Scorpion needed to cross a river which was in spate, so he asked Crocodile to grant the favour, but Crocodile declined. He told Scorpion his inclination to sting was too strong, so he wouldn't be taking any chances with him.

After much begging and pleading, Crocodile relented. Upon getting to the other side of the river, Scorpion, before making his exit, administered his famous sting. A perplexed Crocodile asked why, to which Scorpion answered that he couldn't stop himself as it was his nature to sting.

If there is not fundamental change in our thought process, which of course directs our actions, Jamaica will forever be in a mess.

Individual countries are in survival mode. England is a perfect example, wherein instead of lowering its travel tax, it is now planning an increase. There is also the case where our fruits are no longer given preferential prices. Another sign of self-interest dominating is the scaled-down access of West Indian cricketers to county cricket in Britain.

Begging, begging, begging

Flawed thinking caused the person in charge of sports to beg Prince Harry for help, instead of offering to sell our expertise in areas such as coaching or, perhaps, offering winter training facilities. Another flawed example by another leader was begging for the country's ranking to be realigned so we would be eligible for alms.

Over time, different finance ministers in different administrations have received sustained applause after returning from abroad with loan packages. Contrast those behaviours with a budding entrepreneur working from his basement, having his partner answering the phone before accepting the call on an extension, helping to project the image of an operation bigger than it really was. That small operation is now a major apparel company in the world.

At the other end of the spectrum in our country, the reliance on remittances is a counterproductive recipe for ruin.