The talk of the time has switched from COVID-19 to elements of corruption and nepotism surrounding political “stars” as we approach an electoral period. Two well-respected pollsters concur that corruption is only a minor concern to us Jamaicans and will not affect the political support of the die-hard minority; and the voiceless majority are not brave enough to go out and challenge that notion.
So we have a moral void that has developed in our politicians supported by their adherents. It is a bit like taking the Ten Commandments and adding a personalized line that exonerates our own consciences. “Thou shalt not steal; except you get caught”. Right and wrong have been redefined to suit our base instincts.
The security forces and gangs are free to shoot each other, unless the losing people are our sons or brothers. Then we want “Justice” because Johnny was a good youth except for the high-powered weapon that he had in his hand. Then we bawl for INDECOM; Public Defender; Integrity Commission; DPP; Parliament; and all other bodies that have been set up to fail by our legislators.
Jamaican legislators have been consistently negligent in leaving nepotism as a loophole for relatives, friends, and supporters. Many Jamaicans today are completely unaware of the agreement about the division of spoils with the ruling party receiving 60% and the Opposition 40%. This has been at the base of corruption, nepotism, and public spats since I was a child. Furthermore, the violations of this agreement and/or the staying of one party in Government for more than two terms have created needless violence that is now out of control.
The business associations have conveniently forgotten this reality and therefore close their eyes in the hope of receiving benefits, or alternatively possibly being the victims of violence. This is a part of the reason that wives take children overseas, or whole families migrate to the USA and Canada.
In an almost hypocritical way, public listed corporations’ boards must meet “Fit and Proper requirements” under the BOJ and FSC; in order to manage shareholders’ money; meanwhile government nepotism allows for friends to rip off the people of Jamaica’s money in a most “unfit” manner. This debacle provides sufficient comedy for God to have a good laugh. This is the reality of our beloved Jamaica.
We are faced with extreme choices, and there are people who will go to either end of that spectrum. Some will find contentment in praying but doing nothing; while others would like to have high-powered weapons of mass destruction and kill each other with great abandon. Regrettably, neither will work, so solutions will have to come from leaders who are moderate but resolute.
However, in any balancing act there must be a fulcrum. Our politicians seem to want to choose a fulcrum in an arbitrary manner against the laws of physics. Perhaps if they were not surrounded by their bodyguards they would be able to return us to a state of balance. If they happened to be losing their compatriots in Gordon House to wanton violence then they would prepare effective solutions, or if not, they could migrate to countries that will issue the appropriate visas to them.
The willingness of our politicians to address corruption and nepotism seems to be focused on creating political fodder without any attempt to charge or dismiss anyone for wrongdoing. It is no longer an age or gender discrepancy situation. The older people have completely forgotten the best of their family values, and perhaps the younger never received those values through no fault of their own. Both scenarios are extremely sad reflections of a country that claims to be Christian.
This current stalemate will be the last opportunity for the “silent majority” to send a strong message by voting. After this, the moment may be lost — perhaps forever. Exercise your rights for right.