Drive along Knutsford Boulevard any week day morning, just above the police station and see the “stoosh” cars double parked as occupants try to do business and fill their hungry stomachs with ‘Juici beef’ meals. Honestly? Traffic block! and just above the police station? Let us hope that the police officers are not complicit with this disorderliness. Not only is it disorder, it is danger, because there is no space to accommodate the vehicles in the left lane of traffic trying to wend their way in the southerly direction to Oxford Road. This is bad!
Our taxi drivers are notorious for creating disorder. They create mayhem on the streets. In their effort to “make a bread” or “eat a food” they endanger the lives of all and sundry. They overtake to reach to the top of a line of traffic so that they can be the first through the traffic light. They turn left from the far right lane. They give no signals but just stop “brap” at the sight of a potential passenger or if a passenger inside the vehicle, says “one stop driver”. Who cares if the driver behind is inconvenienced, or almost crashes. Hey and don’t make the mistake of hitting their vehicle. That would be another story – threats, bad word bad word , stand-off. This is ugly!
The bike riders terrorise citizens. They dally In and out of the traffic speeding along as if daring drivers to “hit me if you can”. They overtake you as you try to turn right, they speed out of side roads into the main roads like no body’s business. Two friends of mine recently had altercations with bikers who crashed into their cars and then tried to abuse them. Definitely ugly!
Look at the “loader men” who work with the minibus drivers. In their anxiety to fill the vehicles they torment the potential passengers, especially the ladies. They drag the ladies, they holler, fresh, disgusting and sexist comments and have even been known to lift women and poke them through the windows of the vehicles they are loading. This is disgraceful!
A significant percentage of the persons who reside in challenged communities are forced to live like crabs in a barrel. But they can still make efforts to keep their surroundings even slightly clean. Gone are the days when residents would sweep the yard and plant flowers in a pan in the effort to brighten the surroundings. This close proximity of living space leads to quarrels, fights, bad relationships. The children are left to wander and fend for themselves. Look at the number of young boys on the streets hustling. This is disheartening!!!!
Densely populated areas are havens for crime in our beloved land.
The spate of murders increase. Reprisals and reprisals. Guns amok. Our people need help. Young persons have no visible means of income yet they have access to guns. The gun is power. The gunmen/gunwomen are in charge. They are bad and strong. They give the orders and people cringe. They extort the business community. Family members, the community members, the neighbours, the is women, the children are displaced or killed. No one is spared. This is Bad and Ugly!
Let us turn the page.
Walk or drive past some schools in Kingston from Monday to Friday between 2 – 3 and see the orderly lines of young ladies waiting and boarding the JUTC buses. Kudos to Immaculate girls. This is good!!!!
Visit the US Embassy on any week day and see the orderly lines of Jamaicans waiting to be admitted inside.
Visit the Poor Relief office on Hanover Street on the days that stipends are paid and see the lines of senior citizens patiently waiting to collect their funds. This is great!!!!!
It is possible for us in this day of “hustle and bustle”, of disorderliness, to be orderly!!!!!
But it doesn’t just happen. WHERE IS THE MUCH MOUTHED VALUES AND ATTITUDES PROGRAMME. Why has it become the Jamaica Values and Attitudes Project for Tertiary students (JAMVAT)? JAMVAT provides funds to help students complete their tertiary education. The basis for these grants is that these students are supposed to be involved in community work. They are supposed to be volunteering with organizations to help with instilling values and attitudes in their communities. Statistics will show that they are not doing this. The funds are granted and there is no monitoring to assess if work is being done. A change in Values and attitudes has to target all Jamaica. It has to start with programmes for the homes and for the schools. There has to be determination to have a seriously focussed programme to help to turn the attitudes, behaviour, morals, in a direction that will positively influence the entire population. Determination has to be supported by rules. Rules have to be monitored. The change has to start in the homes, extend to the schools and to the world of work.
Parents need to make the time to nurture and empower their children. To do this properly it makes sense not to have too many children. Children require energy. It is a tall order to nurture each of them in a meaningful way. Our love for our children and duty as parents must be the driving force and motivation for caring and guiding our young.
We are at such a critical juncture in lack of values, that not only must programmes be undertaken in the family but also in the schools simultaneously. We need to start. There have been too many announcements of programmes and then nothing happens.
What has happened to the National Standard for Improving Public Behaviour which was drawn up by the Behaviour Standard Committee of the Bureau of Standards and publicised in 2010? Where is the Jamaica Resocialisation Programme that was launched in November 2013?
We need to announce a well developed programme, train implementers, start to implement, and move forward. It is not an overnight process. It takes time. Let us look long term. We have to tackle poor family life. We have to tackle poor behaviour in schools, poor work attitudes, poor time management. We have to tackle corruption.
When our population is trained and they demonstrate this training we will have more persons like the young in the bus lines and the persons in the lines at the Poor Relief Office. We will have more order and less disorder. We will definitely have more of the good and less of the ugly and the bad.