LETTER OF THE DAY - Expand Bain protest to other social ills
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am quite pleased to see that, for once, we can carry out a protest. Regardless of the reason, it shows what I and many other citizens have long questioned - the capacity and will of the Jamaican people to carry out a sustained protest in a manner that does not disrupt societal functioning. I guess it took the 'Bain issue' for us to find our resolve to fight for something.
However, we need to make room to protest the many other various societal defects that are (have been) plaguing us as a society. So can we focus as well on some other issues in the same breath?
Could Youth Minister Lisa Hanna, in expressing her "shock" at the controversial sex-education manual in the children's homes, spread some of that same emotion to the situation of bus and taxi drivers that continue to play music with lewd lyrics while transporting our children? Or doesn't this qualify as sexual grooming - "yes a suh mi like it, bring yuh by come ya mek mi ride it"? This is a quote from a song being played on a Coaster bus transporting primary-school children that I happened to be on a few weeks ago, the majority of them knew it word for word.
While I consider myself a dancehall fan, it is much to my chagrin to hear certain songs publicly, especially around children. This is adult territory! Often artistes themselves will tell you they do not allow their own children to listen their songs. If the children in the protective care of State and families are subjected to these kinds of content, do we dare imagine what our children on the streets are being exposed to?
Children as young as four years old are cleaning windshields at the stop light by Newport West/Three Miles. A little "shock" would go a far way for their welfare, too.
Can we protest about the general behaviour of these bus conductors and loader men? They harass you to come into their vehicles, harass you if you don't, then on top of it all, they let you off before the agreed destination. Students and citizens going to the University Hospital, United Theological College and the University of the West Indies and that general area are all too familiar with being let off in Papine by these buses then having to 'transfer' to another mode of transport.
Can we protest for some proper and adequate sanitary facilities? Ones where we don't have to pay to pee? So we as citizens can walk in the towns without developing frown lines because of the stench of urine?
Look at more issues
Can we protest for proper sidewalks? Pedestrians account for the most road fatalities; it's only sensible. Have we ever stopped to consider how our fellow citizens with disabilities fare daily? Imagine a visually impaired person or someone in a wheelchair having to navigate a sidewalk with a utility pole smack in the middle!
Let us not forget the human trafficking, the rapes, the murders, the unemployment rate, the failing education system, the wells that are out of use because of sewage contamination, the pollution, unregulated sand mining that is killing our rivers.
It is time we stop looking for issues to pinpoint for the advancement of specific institutional agendas and start beholding the broader picture. Until we seek to address the real social ills that are at play with equal rigour as we would for areas of personal and institutional interest, Vision 2030, I am afraid, is a bit too ambitious.