Well here we go once again. You may say that I have been procrastinating. Well I have not. I have about 4 unfinished blog posts just waiting to published. Guess what I have done? I started this one. It is on a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Politics!
For those who know me, you know that I neva back from a political “conversation”, no matter the odds. I say hello to my friends on the other side. Do I or should I declare my political leanings? Hmm…. Nah I don’t think there is a need to.
A few days ago I came upon a wonder full blog post by @cucumberjuice entiled “Where in the world is world is Portia Simpson-Miller”. After reading It, I had reason to pause. Well really mek people tek wi fi fool. Everyone knows my political leanings, but I am disappointed with both sides of the isle. After such a strong political campaign just a few months ago, our two time Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller ( @PSimpsonMiller ) has gone limp. Yes she turns up for the Olympics and for her Time award but Sista P we need guidance and encouragement from our fearless leader. Now is not the time to point your fingers on the opposition or for that matter your own minters and say it’s their fault or let them deal with it. No, no we need you front and center.
As for you, former Prime Minister Andrew Holness ( @andrewholnessjm ). Where is the new style of politics that you speak of? The same rhetoric, at the same time, about the same things. You too seem to be sleeping on the job. Lessons on how to run this thing called politics is just next door. Please, I beg of you look on the Romney/Obama campaign and you will see that your face needs to be out their every darn day!
I am an entrepreneur, I am lover of fried foods but first and foremost I am a Jamaican. I hear the cry so many times from my people, Bwoy di politicians a mash up wi country! Guess what my friends I do not blame them one bit for our troubles. I blame us Jamaicans. Not the farin ones, not the wanna be ones nor the barrel Jamaicans. I blame us, the ones that live here, work here, invest here, drink and eat here. We sit on our patio’s, or bar stools or at our dinner tables and complain quietly for approximately 9 days then it dun and gone.
We, and yes I said we need to hold our politicians accountable. No that’s just way too general. We ought to be taking notes and making sure to follow up. Here is an example Madam Prime Minister, JEEP was said to be full of jobs. (see gleaner article dated September 19, 2011 http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110919/lead/lead1.html .) I applauded your plan to create thousands of sustainable Jobs to grow our way out of the troubled waters that we had found our self in. Instead of Jobs in agro-processing, cultural and creative industries and information communication technology, we get bush clearing and side-walk repair. Instead of a five year tax holiday for all start-up business to encourage growth we get an increase in the form of “All registered companies – excluding charities, companies exempt from income tax under section 12 of the Income Tax Act such as approved educational institutions and companies in the first year of incorporation – will be required to pay a minimum income tax of J$60,000 per annum, effective January 1, 2013.” What does that mean? If you are selling panties of the streets of Jamaica and want to legitimize yourself as a company you must now pay the government a minimum of $60,000 annually. Thanks for the holiday. (Source; http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120527/business/business6.html ).
So I am taking notes Sista P and Andrew. Anyway moving on from holding them accountable, to finding a solution to our problems. I will offer my solution, because it is my opinion that in order have the right to complain one must offer a solution. So here is my two cents worth. First let me spell out the problem. Lets put JPSco aside for a moment. So outside them strangling the country our singular problem is Justice. We simply live in a country that is lawless. You want a driver’s license? It can be bought. You want a “fitness paper” that too can be bought. How about a passport, a get out of jail free card or a stick of weed? It all can be bought for the right price. Lets be frank here, all of us who live in Jamaica, in some form or the other involve ourselves in corruption. Whether it is because the “legal” route is too circuitous or it’s just plain inconvenient. We also do it because we have no fear of prosecution. Take for example the payment of royalties to artists for the music we play. Did you know that any location or premises outside the home (unless the public is admitted to the home, e.g. for a pay fete), from bars to clubs to concert venues, dancehalls, sessions, hotels to hospitals, and restaurants to race tracks. The proprietor/manager of the premises is responsible for obtaining a JAMMS license to play music? See http://www.jammsonline.com/. Yep and there are many more regulations like that one that are simply ignored.
Back to the point at hand, Justice. It is my belief that a lot of the crime in Jamaica stems from this singular point. If I go out and borrow some money from somebody and choose not to repay it, that person has little or no legal recourse. So what are their options? Do me sumting or just hug up dat. On the other side of the coin if I, you or them commit a crime in a Jamaica, what is the realistic chance of being caught? Slim to none.
I say all of that to say this. If all of us understood that if we disobeyed the rule of law, we would be swiftly and fairly be dealt with, we would adjust our behavioral patterns. Politicians would not flaunt the law, civil servants would not steal tax payers money, bribery would be a thing of the past, Tax evasion would simply not exist. So my solution is to focus on Justice. Justice for the rich, Justice for the poor, Justice even for the criminals in our society.