Hard times solutions
The Soloist, Contributor
To hear some supporters speak following the present government's victory at the polls last December, one would have thought the ongoing recession only started in January! And after the promises made during the campaign, many persons expected to turn on their taps and catch some of the milk and honey they assumed would be running freely for all. Good thing I already knew that politicians of all hues tend to be very economical with the truth.
Well, reality has set in. The International Monetary Fund is still with us, botched talks or no, and the PM's magic wand seems broken. After much anticipation, a cruel tax package was unleashed. And, as was expected, the seemingly comatose Opposition Leader woke up with howls of protest. Last week, some tax adjustments were announced, but as is the norm with Jamaicans, we are never satisfied. So here are my solutions.
Instead of free housing to 'poor people', why not give houses to families headed by women as a reward for tubal ligation, or to single women who opt to wait until they can afford children before having them or, further, allow the latter group to live in the proposed houses as long as they sign an agreement to have only two children. Realistically, these structures will not be large enough to accommodate large families! I would also give free education to families with only one or two children and if the women become pregnant before those two children graduate from tertiary institutions, all scholarships would end.
As for our taste for foreign foods, my rule would state that only restaurants and hotels that cater to tourists would be allowed to import foods not grown locally. Expatriates living here would have special shops that offer them their luxury items from their countries and there would be penalties for locals caught shopping therein.
I would mandate farmers to plant all the vegetables, tubers and fruits we consume and ensure there are adequate storage facilities for surplus. Those who complain constantly about electricity costs would have to start installing alternative sources of energy. The same would be the case for water. These farmers would now have to make provision for harnessing rainwater in wells and tanks for irrigation.
And, finally, to make sure the farmers benefit directly from their hard labour, farmers' markets would be mandatory for the sale of produce directly to consumers who now have to suck up wage freezes. Yes, it's time to get serious. I have already cut back drastically in my household.
My live-in helper no longer gets three meals a day; it's a hearty breakfast and an even heartier dinner. I have stopped buying salt fish and chicken. My meats are now turkey necks and banga Mary, just about the cheapest around now and I have started on a "cho-cho every way" diet. So I now cook cho-choes battered, brown stewed, curried, steamed, fricassee, sweet and sour and run down ... very delicious and a lot healthier than pork, beef, chicken etc.
For vacation this year, I am spreading my towel on the lawn, grabbing my sunscreen and lounging outdoors with my laptop to surf the Internet for items I will definitely not be able to afford this year!