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Separate needy from greedy - Chuck

Published:Wednesday | May 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Opposition lawmaker Delroy Chuck says Jamaica needs a reality check as the time has come for the country to separate the "needy from the greedy" and move away from the politics of handout.

During his contribution to the 2014-2015 Sectoral Debate, Chuck said Jamaica's persistent poverty and inability to create wealth have emerged significantly from the politics of entitlement.

"Far too many Jamaicans, especially those in the inner-city communities, have been nurtured on the practice of a politics that supports and caters to handouts, the freeness mentality, and on the belief that the State should maintain and care for them from the cradle to the grave," Chuck contended.

He questioned the genesis of the politics of distribution of state welfare and equally queried how it could be ended.

Turning to the present challenge faced by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) in relation to widespread electricity theft, the opposition MP said many residents who have been nurtured in the freeness mentality strongly believe that they have a right to free light and power.

He noted that the National Water Commission cannot account for 70 per cent of the water it produces as most of it is lost, stolen, or provided as 'social' water.

Chuck questioned whether the taxpayers of Jamaica should continue to provide social water when most people who pay for the precious commodity cannot get a steady and reliable supply.

"This state of affairs cannot last," he asserted.

"We have to instill in our people across every community that the State can only help the truly needy, the desperate, and vulnerable, and others must earn their way and take responsibility for their daily care and welfare," he insisted.

WAKE-UP CALL

While disagreeing with the JPS's recent plan to cut off the power supply to communities with large-scale electricity theft, Chuck said the move might have been a wake-up call for politicians to send a clear message that 'freeness' cannot continue and handouts are coming to an end.

He told his parliamentary colleagues that the only way to stop the 'freeness' mentality in the country was to equip Jamaicans with skills and knowledge to fend for themselves.

"It can only stop if our people are provided with jobs and opportunities to earn decent wages and allowed to improve their quality of life," he added.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com