Jamaica is a country that is filled with great beauty and promise. However, this enchanting beauty is marred by a stifling economy and greedy leaders. I love my country and it will always be my home, but I have come to a point where I have to wonder if there is really hope. Jamaica needs a quick turn around before everything crumbles. The answer isn't in increased taxes or more borrowing. Instead, the answer lies within the very people the government refuses to listen to- the average Jamaican.
Get Rid of the "Flashy" Mentality
One of the few things I respected about the JLP when they were in power from 2007 to 2011 was the fact that each member of the cabinet received a cut in his or her salary. The PNP, on the other hand, increased the number of people on the cabinet and also increased their salaries as soon as they won the election. What did we do about it as a people? We sat in our homes and grumbled instead of rising as a united force to challenge their actions. Why do government leaders have to have two to three homes, flashy cars, and their every needs met when more than 30% of the population is in abject poverty? Our leaders, regardless of the party they are affiliated with, should follow the lead of Uruguay's president Jose Mujica who lives in a farm house and drives a beat up car yet still performs his duties well. (You can read more about his story here). The government needs to be truly for the people and not its own interests.
Foster Development from the Grassroots Level
One of my friends broached an interesting idea to me the other day. So many youth in inner city and rural communities have absolutely nothing to do with their free time. The devil finds work for idle hands. So, why not invest in some community centers that can be placed in several of these communities throughout the country? At these centers, the youth can learn some non traditional sports and be engaged in meaningful activities. Although I think it is a fantastic idea, I know that building a community center requires large sums of money. However, it is a worthwhile investment that can help to stem crime and create a better future for our young people. There must be some multinational corporation or donor agency that would be willing to fund these projects. Has the government even considered the possibility?
Both the government and the opposition realize the importance of ICT. As a result, the government encourages ICT investments and innovation. However, the current business climate does not encourage the average person to set up his or her own business. It is a very long and bureaucratic process that requires great capital. The government needs to do more to encourage the growth of the small business sector. Some of the ideas that young entrepreneurs have can cause a greater flow of foreign currency into the country and ease unemployment. Why not look to these solutions instead of increasing taxes?
If the way our leaders govern doesn't change, this country will continue on a downward spiral. What more do you think the government can do? Leave your comments in the space provided.